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Delhi High court; sexual harassment

Delhi High Court dismisses plea to allow women of all ages, religions to enter all places of worship

New Delhi |The Delhi High Court Friday dismissed a petition seeking a direction to ensure that women of all ages and religions are allowed to enter and pray at temples, mosques and Zoroastrian fire temples.

A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and VK Rao refused to entertain the plea saying it lacked “territorial jurisdiction”. “Petitioner has not indicated which of the temples mentioned in the petition is under the jurisdiction of this court. None of the temples indicated here are within the territorial jurisdiction of this court. We are not inclined to entertain it. The petition is dismissed,” the bench said.

The petition filed by advocate Sanjiv Kumar also said women should be ordained as “pujari”, imam or priest of their respective temples, mosques or churches to lead prayers. It also sought that women of menstruating or non-menstruating age from every religion be allowed to enter and pray at all times at all temples in India.

A similar order was sought in favour of the entry of men in women-only temples such as Attukal, Chakkulathukavu, Santoshi Maa “Vrat”, Lord Brahma, Bhagwati Maa Temple and Kamrup Kamakhya.

It sought orders declaring as unconstitutional the prevalent practice of denying Muslim women the right to observe fast and offer prayers during menstruation.

The petition also urged the court to direct the Centre to put in place norms allowing menstruating Hindu women to enter the kitchen as well as observe fasts, offer prayers and go to any place, and said denying this should be deemed “unconstitutional”.

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