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SC notice to Modi govt on five fresh petitions challenging CAA

The apex court also ordered tagging of the new petitions with the other PILs filed on CAA

Wednesday May 20, 2020 10:15 PM, IANS

New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to reply to a plea seeking Muslim women's entry to mosques across the country, as such a restriction violates right to equality and gender justice.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy took up the matter through video-conferencing and agreed to examine the petition which sought setting aside a 'fatwa' restraining Muslim women's entry to mosques.

The plea, filed by Pune-based Muslim women, cited constitutional provisions and argued that there should not be any discrimination against any citizen.

The petitioner contended that it is very unfortunate that not a single political party or chief minister, women included, has thought of advancing the interest of Muslim women by providing them access to mosques that receive monetary aid from taxpayers' money.

The plea sought direction from the apex court permitting women to pray on the 'musalla' without being separated by a barrier, including in the front and in mixed-gender congregational lines.

"Despite the observation of this court, the goal of Uniform Civil Code remains elusive. There is nothing in the Holy Quran and the Hadith that requires gender segregation", added the plea.

"It is because of such failure that a need has arisen for Muslim women from several states to approach the Supreme Court", said the plea.

The plea argued: "Women are allowed to enter mosques that have a separate space for them, but most mosques in India do not have this facility. Socially, Indian women are not encouraged to regularly pray at mosques even if they do have separate enclosures. Most Women visiting the Jama Masjid, for instance, would be Muslim tourists rather than residents of the capital."

The bench, beside the Centre also issued notices to the Ministry of Minorities Affairs, National Commission for Women and All India Muslim Personal Law Board and others and sought their responses.

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