The Supreme Court on Friday said religious sentiments should not be exploited to oppose the making of electoral rolls with photographs.
"You cannot say I am still be a burqua-clad," a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice Deepak Verma said during the hearing of a petition which contended that publishing photographs of Muslim Gosha women was opposed to their religious belief.
The Madras High Court had on September 7, 2006, dismissed a petition by M Ajmal Khan a few days prior to the Madurai Central by-election, holding that wearing of `purda' did not form part of Islam.
The Bench, which posted the matter for final hearing after two weeks, said the photo identity card is neccessary for the election purpose.
"Religious sentiments cannot override statutory rule", it said adding "voting is a statutory right and if you want to vote your photograph is necessary."
The Bench asked if a Muslim woman decides to contest election, will she not get herself photographed.
"Suppose you want to contest election, then what about burqua? the Bench said beore adjourning the matter.
The Supreme Court had in 2006 issued notices to the Election Commission on a Special Leave Petition (SLP) against the High Court judgment upholding the EC's decision to release electoral rolls with photographs of voters, including Muslim Gosha women.