Male devotees on the first day of Gudi Padwa stormed into the inner sanctum of Shani Shingnapur temple to perform puja for Gudi Padwa, breaking the orders of the trust that nobody is allowed to offer the prayers there.
Earlier, men were allowed to enter and offer prayers inside the inner sanctum, however after the controversy on women too entering inside the temple, the temple trust banned entry for all.
Last month, the Bombay High Court stated that no law prevents women from entering a place of worship and if men are allowed, then women too should be permitted. Also, added that any temple or person imposing such restriction can face a six month jail term under a Maharashtra law.
The observations were made by a division bench of Chief Justice D H Waghela and Justice M S Sonak during the hearing of a public interest litigation by senior advocate Nilima Vartak and activist Vidya Bal, challenging the prohibition of entry of women in the Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra.
“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 Waghela said.
The court also said that the government should give wide publicity to the Act and issue circulars, informing the general public at large about the Act and its provisions.
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.