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SC notice on plea that seeks entry of women into all Mosques

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New Delhi, Oct 25: The Supreme Court on Friday sought the response of the Centre on a PIL seeking entry of Muslim women in all mosques of the country.

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A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer issued a notice to the union ministry of law and justice and Minority Affairs on the plea seeking entry of women in mosques.

The plea was filed by one Yasmeen Zuber Ahmad Peerzade for issuance of direction to government authorities and Muslim bodies like Wakf Board to allow women into mosques on grounds that denial amounted to a violation of various fundamental rights.

The SC earlier had issued a notice to the Centre on public interest litigation (PIL) seeking permission for Muslim women to enter and offer namaz inside mosques. The apex court also issued notice to the Waqf Board.

In April this year, the bench said, the only reason for hearing the petition was their judgment in the Sabarimala temple case.

In their petition, the Muslim couple asked the apex court to declare the prohibition on entry of women inside mosques in the country as illegal and unconstitutional as it violated the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

Indicating that there was no mention of any gender segregation in either Quran or Hadith, the couple's counsel Ashutosh Dubey said, "....such practices are not only repugnant to the basic dignity of a woman as an individual but also violative of their fundamental rights... "

The petitioners said there were no records stating that the Quran and Prophet Muhammad opposed women entering mosques and offering prayers, and in fact, men and women have equal constitutional rights to worship, according to their beliefs.

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The petition also mentions that at present women are allowed to offer prayers at mosques under the Jamaat-e-Islami and Mujahid denominations but they are barred from mosques under the predominant Sunni faction.

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