Women should not have to come to court to enter temple: Bombay HC

The Bombay High Court observed yesterday that if men are allowed in a place of worship, then women should also be permitted, as no law prevents them from doing so. A bench was hearing a petition filed by two Pune-based women, who challenged the bar on entry of women at temples like Kartikeya temple in Pune and Shani Shinganapur temple in Ahmednagar.

Trupti Desai (in pink) headed the protest by women, demanding the right to enter the Shani Shignapur temple, in Ahmadnagar on Tuesday. Pic/PTI 

The bench of Chief Justice DH Waghela and Justice SJ Sonak was hearing a petition filed by Vidya Bal and Nilima Varta. Their lawyer, Kalyani Tulankar, had claimed that the prohibition of women in temples violated their fundamental right to practise their religion. The Hindu Places of Public Worship (entry) 1956 and (Bombay Act 31) allows people of all classes and sections to enter a temple; it did not discriminate, the lawyer told the bench.

The court was also told about the attempt of entry by Trupti Desai in the area that is banned for women in Shani Shingnapur. “Instead of providing protection for enforcement of law, you are enforcing Section 144 of CrPC, prohibiting entry. You have to protect them and make sure that they have equal rights, same as men’s to worship. If any trustee or pujari is creating a problem, you should make sure he is taken to task. You should make sure law and order is maintained. Issue circulars to all collectors and police officers about the entry of women to all Hindu shrines, except private ones,” observed the bench. “For entering a temple, they should not come to the High Court,” said the bench.

- Inputs from Agencies

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