Court rejects plea for women to enter Indian mosques
The Supreme Court of India this week threw out a plea for Muslim women to be allowed entry into mosques in the country. A Jurist report notes that a regional head of the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, a far-right political organisation, had filed the public interest litigation petition. The petitioner had also sought the abolition of the ‘purdah system,’ or the practice of Muslim women wearing the face veil. The petitioner had contended that restrictions on women in Indian mosques were not a part of Islam, arguing that there is no ban on women in Mecca. He also asserted that Muslim women face discrimination by not being allowed to enter and pray in the main prayer hall of mosques – in violation of Articles 14 and 21 of India’s Constitution. The petitioner further claimed that Muslim women were being forced to wear veils, which he claimed segregates and degrades them. ‘Let a Muslim woman come and challenge it. Then we will consider,’ Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi observed orally while dismissing the petition. In October, the Kerala High Court had rejected a similar plea by the same petitioner.