India Supreme Court to consider plea on women in mosques
©Wikimedia (Pinakpani)

India Supreme Court to consider plea on women in mosques

India’s Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to hear a petition from a Muslim couple to allow entry of women to mosques without restrictions, and issued a notice to the government.

Yasmeen Zuber Ahmad Peerzade and her husband Zuber Ahmad Nazir Ahmad Peerzade said the restrictions on the entry of women into certain mosques should be set aside as such “practices of prohibition” violate Articles 14 (equality), 15 (non-discrimination), 21 (life and liberty), 25 (religious freedom) and 29 (protection of minorities) of the constitution.

At present, women are allowed to offer prayers at mosques under the Jamaat-e-Islami and Mujahid denominations but are barred from mosques under the predominant Sunni faction. “The Quran does not differentiate between man and woman. It speaks only about the faithful. But Islam has become a religion in which women are being oppressed,” said in the petition.

Justices S.A. Bobde and S. Abdul Nazeer were initially averse to issuing notices since mosques are not under the control of the state. But the court later relented in the light of last year’s ruling in the Sabarimala case, which allowed women of all ages to enter the Kerala shrine, lifting the ban on those of childbearing age.