9 NUJS L. Rev. [i] (2016)

handle is hein.journals/nujslr9 and id is 1 raw text is: 




                        I.  INTRODUCTION

             Restricting women's  entry  to places of religious worship has
become  a highly contentious issue of late. Though such practices have been
persisting for decades in India,' movements across the country have recently
espoused these concerns, leading to several petitions being filed in High Courts
and in the Supreme  Court. Demonstrating  an encouraging  trend, courts have
emphatically upheld rights of women  to equality and freedom of religion, thus
striking down the restrictions imposed. The Bombay High  Court, for instance,
ruled that the inner sanctum of the Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar,
Maharashtra  be opened  to women,  as it is the fundamental right of women to
enter all places of worship that allow entry to men, and the duty of the state to
protect such right.2 The Court relied on the Maharashtra Hindu Places of Public
Worship  (Entry Authorisation) Act, 1956, which prohibits obstructing a section
or class of the Hindu population from entering places of worship.3

             In September,  2016, in a landmark  decision, the Bombay  High
Court permitted  the entry of women entry into the sanctum sanctorum  at the

   Several places of worship in India deny entry to women, including the Haji Ali Dargah in
   Bombay, the Patbausi Satra in Assam, the Sabarimala temple in Kerala, the Trimbakeshwar
   temple in Nashik and the Kartikeya temple in Pushkar. A common justification given is the
   fear that the sanctity of the temple premise would be compromised by menstruating women
   who are considered impure and polluted. See DNA Web Team, Five Places of Worship in
   India that Deny Entry to Women, April 1, 2016, available at http://www.dnaindia.com/india/
   report-shani-temple-sabarimala-sree-padmanabhaswamy-haj i-ali-entry-to -women-2196954
   (Last visited on January 17, 2017); Adrija Roychowdhury, Women 'Polluting' Religious
   Spaces: How the Idea Came About, May 18, 2016, available at http://indianexpress.com/ar-
   ticle/explained/women-polluting-religious-spaces-how-the-idea-came-about/ (Last visited on
   January 17, 2017).
2  Reuters in Delhi, Indian Temples Cannot Bar Women, Rules Supreme Court, April 12, 2016,
   available at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/12/indian-temples-cannot-bar-
   women-rules-supreme-court (Last visited on January 17, 2017).
3  Ruhi Bhasin, Shani ShingnapurRow: Allow Women Entry to Temples, saysBombayHC, March
   31, 2016, available at http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/women-cant-
   be-barred-from-entering-shani-shinganapur-temple-bombay-hc/_(Last visited on January 17,

January-June,  2016

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