The apex court of the court has today dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking permission for Muslim women entry into mosques and placing a ban on the regressive practice of Purdah system, that ordains them to cover their face.
A bench comprising of the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Annirudha Bose questioned the locus standi of the petitioner, saying, “Let a Muslim woman come, then we shall consider this petition.”
The petition was filed in the Supreme Court against the Kerala High Court verdict which rejected the plea. The petitioner, Swamy Dethathreya Sai Swaroop Nath, the President of the Kerala unit of the Akhil Bharatha Hindu Mahasabha had contended in the petition that the Muslim women were not allowed to pray in the mosques and were forced to cover their faces through the enforcement of Purdah system.
In another petition filed by a Pune-based Muslim couple seeking women’s entry into mosques, the country’s top court agreed to hear the petition claiming that it will examine the issue only because of the Sabarimala verdict. The Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama, a body of Sunni clerics and scholars had then declared that Muslim women should pray inside their homes and that it is inappropriate for the courts to intervene in the matters pertaining to religion.
However, the latest decision from the Supreme Court comes in stark contrast to the verdict given out by the court in the Sabarimala case.
It is an interesting contention by the court given the fact that none of the petitioners in the Sabarimala was from Kerala and some of them had no knowledge about the customs of the temple. In fact, some of the petitioners wanted to withdraw their pleas after learning that it was a custom limited to one specific temple and women devotees themselves want to follow this custom. The supreme court also had ignored the beliefs of women devotees of the temple.