Category: India

Entry to Mosque and Temple

On 16/4/2019 Supreme Court took up a petition filed by Zuber Peerzade and Yasmeen Peerzade, a couple from Poona, seeking direction to Muslim authorities to allow women to enter mosques to offer prayers. The bench consisted of Justices S. A. Bobde and S. Abdul Nazeer. Ashutosh Dubey was the lawyer of petitioners. The petition quoted Supreme Court order in Sabarimala case which said ”religion can not be used as cover to deny rights of worship to women and it is also against human dignity…”
Justice Bobde argued with Ashutosh Dubey about applicability of Article 14 to mosques. Article 14 states “Equality before law – The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.” Justice Bobde asked “Is a mosque a State?” Ashutosh Dubey replied the mosque receives grants from the State and as such can not deny entry to women.
The Justices were not happy with the petition. They said they were hearing the plea only “because of the judgment in Sabarimala.” Supreme Court issued notices to Central Government, All India Muslim Personal Law Board and National Commission for Women.
Sabarimala Temple had ban on entry of women in 10-50 age group. Temple authorities had argued that there is no discrimination, only differentiation, as there is another Temple where only women can enter and men are banned. Supreme Court rejected that argument and allowed entry of women in 10-50 age group.
Supreme Court Justices who delivered 4-1 majority judgment in Sabarimala case should have known they were opening a Pandora’s Box and opening doors for litigations challenging all types of religious customs, rules and traditions. Sabarimala case set a precedent. Women who had challenged the ban were not devotees of the deity of Sabarimala. Women devotees of the deity favoured ban.
What will be the response of Central Government, All India Muslim Personal Law Board and National Commission for Women? It is election time. Central Government headed by Narenda Modi will calculate repercussions of any response. All India Muslim Personal Law Board is likely to oppose entry of women in mosques. National Commission for Women is expected to side with women.
A Muslim man can legally be married to four women at a time. Some Hindu men have become Muslims to marry second time without divorce. Muslim Personal Law will face challenges as discriminatory. In one case Chander Mohan Bishnoi who was Deputy Chief Minister of Haryana pursued Anuradha Bali who was Assistant Advocate General. He became Chand Mohammed. Anuradha Bali became Fiza. They married as per Muslim rite. On 29/1/2009 Chander Mohan alias Chand Mohammed left Anuradha Bali alias Fiza saying he loved his first wife and children. He returned to Hinduism on 28/7/2009. Anuradha was found dead on 6/8/2012. She was cremated on 7/8/2012.
The case regarding entry of women in mosques is likely to go to a five-judge bench.

20 Democrats for 2020

In India it is time for Lok Sabha elections. In USA, Presidential Election is in November 2020. It is April 2019. Democratic Party has 20 candidates who vie for party nomination to fight Presidential Election.
1) Amy Klobuchar
2) Andrew Yang
3) Bernie Sanders
4) Beto O’Rourke
5) Cory Booker
6) Elizabeth Warren
7) Eric Swalwell
8) Jay Inslee
9) John Delaney
10) John Hickenlooper
11) Joseph Biden
12) Julian Castro
13) Kamala Harris
14) Kirsten Gillibrand
15) Marianne Williamson
16) Tulsi Gabbard
17) Mike Gravel
18) Pete Buttigieg
19) Tim Ryan
20) Wayne Messam
There will be debates in coming months. Some channels may give chance to all candidates to take part in debate by splitting in two parts. Last time when there were 17 Republican candidates, one channel hosted seven candidates first and ten candidates later. The number of candidates went down in subsequent debates.
Bernie Sanders and Joseph Biden lead in polls. Some weeks back suddenly one Democrat woman accused Biden of inappropriate behaviour six years back. After that two women accused Biden similarly. It seems the accusations will not make much difference to Biden.
The contrast with India is striking. Here most parties are personal or family properties. In USA any party member can strive to lead the party. President and Governors are elected and they choose their cabinets. In India, MLAs have no say in election of Chief Minister. Party high command decides.
It is difficult to predict who will win Democratic nomination. More candidates may join the contest.

Congress versus Trinamool

First came the news that TMC has removed Congress from its logo. Then came Rahul Gandhi’s attack on Mamata Banerjee.
Something went wrong so Mamata Banerjee decided to remove Congress from TMC’s logo. Rahul Gandhi’s speech at Malda indicated it was war between Rahul and Mamata.
Rahul said “Like Modi, Mamata Banerjee makes only false promises and lies to people.” He further said Mamata Banerjee has done nothing for the state. She only gives long speech. Whole state is run for one person.
TMC does not have much presence outside West Bengal. It decided to contest all 42 Lok Sabha seats alone in West Bengal and announced candidates. Congress and CPI(M) could not agree on alliance in West Bengal. BJP is against Congress, CPI(M), and TMC. It is four-way contest in West Bengal.
Comparing to Narendra Modi is what Mamata Banerjee hates and she is likely to be revengeful. It means Congress will not support Mamata Banerjee as PM candidate and TMC will not support Rahul Gandhi as PM candidate.
KCR wanted alliance of non-BJP and non-Congress parties. For Mamata that is an option. She can join AAP, BJD, BSP, SP, TRS and other regional parties. West Bengal has seven-phase voting beginning from 11 April and ending on 19 May. Fight between Congress and TMC is likely to get nasty.
In February there was opposition rally in Delhi where Congress and TMC had participated. That time too Mamata Banerjee was angry that Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary of Congress had accused her of complicity in Saradha scam.
Even if TMC wins 42 seats, they are not enough for government formation. KCR and Mayawati have Prime Ministerial ambitions and they are unlikely to support Mamata Banerjee as PM candidate. If Congress wins 272 seats by itself or with allies it can form government.