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Parsi Trust Tells Supreme Court It Will Allow Women to Enter Fire Temple

On Thursday, Parsi Anjuman Trust in Valsad gave an undertaking before the Supreme Court that it would let petitioner Goolrokh M Gupta, who married a Hindu, to enter fire temple or 'tower of silence'.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:December 14, 2017, 2:39 PM IST
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Parsi Trust Tells Supreme Court It Will Allow Women to Enter Fire Temple
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New Delhi: Breaking the glass ceiling, a Parsi woman has secured the right to enter Zoroastrian fire temple even though she married into a different religion.

On Thursday, Parsi Anjuman Trust in Valsad gave an undertaking before the Supreme Court that it would let petitioner Goolrokh M Gupta, who married a Hindu, to enter fire temple or 'tower of silence'.

Senior advocate Gopal Subamanium, appearing for the Trust, told a Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra about the favourable decision.

The lawyer said that there would be no hindrance in women entering the fire temple managed by the Trust, to offer prayer.

As far as the issue regarding the second 'tower of silence' for participating in the funeral is concerned, the Bench said that it would take it up on January 17.

Goolrokh moved the top court in an appeal against the Gujarat High Court order that has affirmed the Trust's decision not to let Parsi women enter the fire temple if they married into other religions.

The Trust had also announced that it would not allow her to enter the fire temple for the last rites of her parents when they die. Goolrokh's parents are alive and in their 80s.

The HC upheld the view that even though Goolrokh married under the Special Marriage Act, she ceased to be a Parsi. The matter was referred to the apex court's Constitution Bench as it involved the fundamental right to practice any religion.

Appearing for Goolrokh in the apex court, senior lawyer Indira Jaising argued that her client had every "right to be present at the funeral of her parents" and the freedom of faith cannot be curtailed by any person, including the State, much less a religious trust.

Prima facie, the bench had also agreed with her on a previous date when it observed that a woman cannot lose her religious identity only because she married into some other religion.

Jaising pressed for an authoritative judgement on the issue, maintaining it would have a bearing on another important issue — the rights of Hindu women to enter the Sabarimala temple.

Women in the age group of 10-50 years are barred from the Kerala shrine on the grounds that presiding deity is a celibate. The Sabarimala issue has been referred to a Constitution Bench that is yet to be constituted.

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| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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