Parsis Defend Rights To Bar Non-Zoroastrians Entering Fire Temples

In an affidavit filed before a division bench of the Delhi High Court last week, the Delhi Parsi Anjuman (DPA) has claimed that the law doesn’t grant any person the right to demand an entry or the use of facilities of the Parsi community, which includes the fire temple located near Delhi Gate. This was in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) alleging that people belonging to other communities are discriminated against and are denied entry to the sacred structure. A bench headed by Chief Justice Rajendra Menon addressed the PIL. Replying to the allegations, the DPA said the PIL is “not maintainable” and is “an illegal and unconstitutional attempt to enter the place of worship of another religion”.

The relief sought in the petition is in violation of the Fundamental Right to Privacy guaranteed by the Constitution of India to Zoroastrians, as well as the DPA and its members, it added. Apart from the DPA, the division bench also sought a response on this from the Centre, the state government, and the state police.

The petition was filed by Sanjjiiv Kkumaar, who alleges that a system of apartheid, untouchability and communalism is being practiced at the fire temple. The plaintiff said this with reference to the norm of not letting Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs enter the sanctum sanctorum of the Zoroastrian temple. Kkumaar’s plea stated that there was no disclaimer outside the temple mentioning that only Zoroastrians will be admitted; he learnt about the policy only after he was barred from entering, reported The Indian Express.

In its defence, the DPA points out that the fire temple is privately funded and endowed, so the beneficiaries are strictly Parsi Zoroastrians. “No other person has right in law to demand entry or use of facilities of the DPA, including the fire temple. The petitioner is not a Zoroastrian,” it stated.

“This petition strikes at the foundation of the Zoroastrian faith professed by Parsis. Barring entry to non-Zoroastrians is not based on factors like caste, colour or race nor is it discriminatory. It is meant to uphold the rules and laws that govern the protection and integrity of the sacred fires,” it added.

Courtesy News Reports

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