There is no end to history, and the discourse over the so-called “unholy” status of a menstruating woman is probably as old as history itself. A living example is the curious case of Shani Shingnapur Temple. But, the rational ones have a reason to hail the Bombay High Court here.
The reason is, and very satisfyingly so, that, “No law prevents women from entering a place of worship if men are allowed,” said the Bombay High Court in an observation on Wednesday. Also mentioned was that anyone – a person or a temple – attempting to impose such a restriction can be subjected to a six month jail term under a Maharashtra law.
“There is no law that prevents entry of women in any place. If you allow men then you should allow women also. If a male can go and pray before the deity then why not women? It is the state government’s duty to protect the rights of women,” Chief Justice DH Waghela said on Wednesday, while speaking of his observations on the Ahmednagar temple, along with Justice MS Sonak. They were addressing a public interest litigation filed by senior advocate Nilima Vartak.
“If it is the sanctity of the deity that you are worried about then let the government make such a statement. Under the Maharashtra Hindu Place of Worship (Entry Authorisation) Act, 1956, if any temple or person prohibits any person from entering a temple then he or she faces a six-month imprisonment,” the court said.
The court directed government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani to take instructions and make a statement on Friday (April 1), on whether or not it will ensure that women will be allowed to enter the temple.
The petition seeks the entry of women not just into the temple, but also inside its sanctum sanctorum, and says that the prohibition is arbitrary, illegal and in violation of fundamental rights of citizens.
WHICH IT IS.
This was long overdue, someone from the judiciary really needed to speak up. And I’m so glad that an observation has finally been made in very clear words.
Let’s get the times of logic rollin’, people.