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2 Parsi women wed to non-Parsis can attend last rites at ‘tower of silence’, says Valsad Parsi Panchayat

NEW DELHI: Upon the urging of the Supreme Court (SC), the Valsad Parsi Panchayat today decided to allow two Parsi women married outside the community to attend prayers in the fire temple as well as be present for the last rites of their loved ones in the ‘tower of silence’.

The radical decision was prompted by the Supreme Court urging the Parsi community to take a more “progressive” stand on the issue. The Supreme Court last week disagreed with an earlier Bombay high court ruling that a woman’s religion merges with her husband’s faith after marriage.

A Parsi woman, Goolrokh M Gupta, represented by her sister Shiraz Contractor Patodia had moved the Supreme Court on the issue.

The Parsi panchayat at Valsad had earlier denied such permission to the two women who are married outside the community. The ‘tower of silence’ is where the community leaves their dead to decompose naturally.

Appearing for the Parsi panchayat today, senior advocate Gopal Subramanium informed the apex court about the decision. Subramanium said the high priest of the Parsi community was consulted by the Panchayat after which the radical decision was taken and communicated today to the court.

Goolrokh had earlier moved the Bombay high court on the issue. That court has upheld the ban on women in the ‘tower of silence’ if they were married outside the community. Goolrokh then moved the SC, seeking the right to enter the tower of silence perform her parents’ last rites in the event of their death. She said she was worried because her parents are both 84 years of age.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra is hearing the case.

Parsis usually have a panchayat, or a committee of five, govern their affairs. Valsad is a district in Udavada in Gujarat.

Source : timesofindia



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2 Parsi women wed to non-Parsis can attend last rites at ‘tower of silence’, says Valsad Parsi Panchayat

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