Supreme Court rejects plea seeking women’s mosque entry

By Matters India Reporter

New Delhi, July 8, 2019: The Supreme Court on July 8 rejected a plea seeking permission for Muslim women to enter mosques.

Dismissing the plea from the Akhila Bharatha Hindu Mahasabha (All India Hindu grand council), a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said: “Let a Muslim woman come and challenge it. Then we will consider.”

The court was hearing a petition filed by Swamy Dattatreya Sai Swaroop Nath, the Kerala president of Akhila Bharatha Hindu Mahasabha.

He has challenged a Kerala High Court order dismissing his plea.

The top court also referred to the Kerala High Court order dubbing the plea a publicity exercise.

“The denial of entry to Muslim women in Masjid for prayers with men is the denial of justice to them and deprives them of their right to equality which is a disgrace to modern society,” the petitioner said.

The petitioner had also sought a ban on the burqa.

“Who are you? How are you affected? Let the aggrieved persons come before us,” the bench said.

When petitioner Swamy Swaroop Nath tried to answer the court’s question in Malayalam, the bench asked a counsel present in the court room to assist it by translating the language.

The counsel translated for the bench that Swamy was a petitioner and he has challenged a Kerala high court order of October 11, 2018.

To this, the bench said that Kerala High Court has noted in its order that media reports were there even before the PIL was taken up for hearing and it appears to be a “motivated” petition, apparently meant for “cheap publicity”.

“We do not see any merit to interfere with the high court order. The petition is dismissed,” the bench said.

The High Court, while dismissing the petition, had said: “The writ petition does not disclose material that would suggest that there is an established practice whereby Muslim women are being denied entry into masjids (Mosques).

“A petition alleging violation of fundamental rights must indicate the nature of the right that is allegedly breached, the factual components of such right, as also the action that resulted in its breach.”

It said that the averments in the writ petition do not suggest that the petitioner was a person who should be ordinarily concerned with the rituals and practices of the Islamic religion and, in particular, the alleged denial of entry to Muslim women in Mosques.

The high court also noted that the PIL had attracted media attention as a report regarding filing of the petition had appeared in the print media even before the matter was taken up for admission before the Court.

“We suspect therefore that this PIL is motivated by a desire of the petitioner for cheap publicity. We are of the view that the proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution of India cannot be permitted to be misused for such purposes,” the high court said.

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