A public interest litigation seeking the court's intervention for the fundamental right to worship and to access religious places was admitted in the Gujarat High Court on Thursday.
It was filed by a Parsi woman, Goolrokh Adi Contractor, now Goolrokh Mahipal Gupta, a resident of Bulsar in south Gujarat.
She pointed out that she had married a non-Parsi, Mahipal Gupta, in 1991 and hence was being denied entry to the Parsi Agiyari (religious temple) and stopped from participating in other Parsi rituals.
Seeking a direction from the court to the authorities of the Fire Temple in Mota Pariwad in Bulsar and to other members of community to allow her in the Agiyari, Ms. Gupta said she was approaching the court now because of apprehensions that after the death of her parents, she would not be permitted by the Parsi community to enter the “tower of silence” and perform their last rites.
The respondents to the petition had claimed that as per Parsi tradition, women who had married outside the community were barred from entering religious places such as the Agiyari and the “tower of silence” and were also restricted from attending certain Parsi rituals.
The petitioner also contended that she had continuously practised Zoroastrianism before and after her marriage and had not changed her religion to Hinduism.
She added that as an Indian citizen, debarring her to follow her religion and stopping her from enjoying the privileges of the religion were violations of the rights given by the Constitution.
Ms. Gupta also claimed that there was no scripture or written text in the Parsi religion that suggested debarring Parsi women for marrying outside the community.
The single judge, who admitted the petition, later recommended that the matter be referred to a Division Bench considering the immense importance of the issue. The next hearing has been scheduled for April 20.