Maha Govt Pledges Entry for Women in All Temples
Bombay HC didn’t want to get into specific instances like Shingnapur temple but said the state has to ensure that women are not discriminated against
Our Political Bureau
Mumbai: The Maharashtra government on Friday gave an undertaking to the Bombay High Court that it would ensure that women are allowed to enter all temples in the state, a move that may bring relief to women’s groups, but could equally anger radical Hindu outfits.
The state government, through its counsel acting Advocate General Rohit Deo, gave an undertaking to the court that the government would soon write to all collectors and superintendent of police to ensure that there would be no gender discrimination in any of the temples within their jurisdiction. The state’s assurance came on Friday after the high court heard a bunch of PIL’s by women’s rights groups, seeking the court’s intervention as they were not allowed inside temples such as the Shani Shingnapur in Shirdi. The division bench did not want to get involved into specific instances like the Shingnapur temple, but said that the state has to ensure that women are not discriminated against.
“It is the fundamental duty of the state to protect the fundamental rights of women,” read the Bombay High Court order, adding that it has to ensure due compliance and enforcement of the PILs filed by women’s rights groups for not being allowed to enter temples like Shani Shingnapur Temple in Shirdi Will write to all the collectors and Superintendent of Police to ensure no gender discrimination in temples
allowed in the inner sanctum sanctorum of the temples then why are women not allowed? provisions of the Act.
The high court during its last hearing had slammed the state government, questioning why are women not allowed in the sanctum sanctorum of temples, when men can do so, and directed To create awareness about Maharashtra Hindu Place of Worship
It prescribes six months of imprisonment to anyone who prohibits a person from entering a temple duty of the state to protect the fundamental rights of women the state to create awareness about the Maharashtra Hindu Place of Worship which hands out a punishment of six months imprisonment to anyone who prohibits a person from entering a temple. While the Maharashtra government has given an undertaking that it would soon issue such instructions, it remains to be seen whether they would be followed.The temple management of Shani Shingnapur and radical Hindu outfits such as Sanathan Sanstha have in the recent past threatened and physically stopped women from entering the temple. Not just the Shani temple, there are other temples like the Trimbakeshwar Temple in Nashik which doesn’t allow women inside.
What’s worse, there’s a divide within the state BJP on the issue. While Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is in favour of allowing women inside temples, his own minister for rural development Pankaja Munde had supported the ban, saying, this cannot be considered as an “insult to the female fraternity”. Interestingly, the Bombay HC is also dealing with a similar case involving Muslim women who want the judiciary to allow women to be allowed within the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali dargah at Worli.
The HC is also dealing with a similar case involving Muslim women who want to be allowed in the Haji Ali dargah