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India court begins scrutiny of religious discrimination against women

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India’s Supreme Court on Monday commenced hearing into the discrimination against women within various religions and at places of worship including the entry of women into a flashpoint Hindu temple in the state of Kerala.

Chief Justice SA Bobde clarified that a nine-judge bench will not consider review petitions on the Sabarimala temple case, but will listen to larger questions involving religious practices that may be in conflict with the law.

The court said that the process that was expected to take months was to settle broader questions about faith versus fundamental rights.

According to broadcaster NDTV, the court will take up petitions related to the entry of Muslim women into mosques and female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community, among other issues.

The judges, however, asked senior lawyers to meet on Jan. 17, to decide on matters including the format and time to be allotted for arguments.

The hearings stemed from review petitions filed seeking to overturn a controversial 2018 Supreme Court ruling that lifted a ban on women of menstruating age from entering the Sabrimala temple.

However, Temple priests said the exclusion of women of reproductive age protects the celibacy of the temple deity Lord Ayappa.

Edited by: Yahaya Isah/Muhammad Suleiman Tola

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