Kerala HC Dismisses Akhila Bharat Hindu Mahasabha’s Plea For Muslim Women’s Entry To Mosques [Read Judgment]
Kerala High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition filed by Akhila Bharat Hindu Mahasabha seeking directive to the Centre for issuing an order enabling Muslim woman to enter mosques for offering prayers.
A division bench of Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and A.K.Jayasankaran Nambiar observed that the petitioner failed to establish that there's denial of women's entry to Kerala mosques. "The writ petition does not disclose material that would suggest that there is an established practise whereby Muslim women are being denied entry into masjids. 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. There is no averment in the writ petition that any of the rights of Muslim women under Article 25 are violated. That apart, in the absence of any material to suggest that there exists a practise of denying entry to Muslim women in Masjids, it may not be possible for this Court, in proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, to embark upon a fact finding enquiry as regards existence of any such practise, and whether the said practice amounts to breach of fundamental rights under Articles 14, 21 or 25 of the Constitution", stated the HC while dismissing the plea.
The petition was filed by Swamy Dethathreya Sai Swaroop Nath, who is the state president of Akhila Bharatha Hindu Maha Sabha, Kerala unit. The petitioner submitted that in the context of a recent Supreme Court order allowing entry of women of all age groups into the Sabarimala temple, the need of the hour is the entry of Muslim women devotees in mosques for prayers along with men. He submitted that women were discriminated against by not allowing them to enter and pray in mosques in the main prayer hall.
"Thus, women of Muslim community were being disgraced and discriminated against which was against Article 21 and 14 of the Constitution," his plea said. This was to be viewed in the context that Muslim women were allowed entry in Mecca, his petition said.
He also said imposition of a dress code like purdah for Muslim women would enable anti-social elements to misuse it and commit crimes. This was an encroachment into the realm of personal liberty and social security, the petition said.
The Court was also not impressed with the locus standi of the petitioner. " The averments in the writ petition do not suggest that the petitioner is a person who should be ordinarily concerned with the rituals and practises of Islamic religion and, in particular, the alleged denial of entry of Muslim women in masjids. He has also not satisfactorily established his credentials as a person who has a history of espousing such causes before superior courts in our country"
The Court also expressed that the petition was motivated by desire to have "cheap publicity": "We also notice that the present PIL has attracted media attention in that a report regarding the filing of the PIL appeared in the print media this morning, even before the matter was taken up for admission before this Court. We suspect therefore that this PIL is motivated by a desire of the petitioner to have cheap publicity. We are of the view that proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution of India cannot be misused for such purposes", observed the Court.