The Kerala High Court Thursday dismissed a PIL filed by a Hindu group seeking entry of Muslim women into mosques for offering prayers. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Rishikesh Roy and Justice A K Jayasankaran Nambiar rejected the plea, observing that the petitioner was neither an aggrieved party nor were his rights affected.
Petitioner Swamy Dethathreya Sai Swaroop Nath, Kerala unit president of Akhila Bharatha Hindu Maha Sabha, had cited the recent Supreme Court order lifting the ban on entry of women of menstruating age into the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala and sought a direction to the Centre for issuing an order enabling Muslim women to offer prayers in mosques.
He had contended that Muslim women were being ‘discriminated’ as they were not allowed to enter and pray in the main prayer hall of mosques in violation of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution (equality before law and protection of life and personal liberty). He also said Muslim women were allowed entry in Mecca.
The petitioner had also claimed imposition of a dress code like purdah (veil) 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, he had submitted.
On September 28, a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had lifted the ban on entry of women of menstrual age into the famous hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa.