Originating summons - Can children of a Parsi mother and non Parsi father enter a fire temple?

An originating summons has been filed this February in the Calcutta High Court inquiring if a child of a Parsi mother and non Parsi father can enter the Mehta fire temple in Calcutta.

According to the Calcutta edition of The Times of India (TOI), "The Calcutta high court has been hearing the petition of a Zoroastrian woman seeking permission from the Late E D B Mehta's Zoroastrian Anjuman Atash Adaran Trust to allow her grandchildren to enter Atash Adaran, the only active fire temple in Kolkata."

Prochy N Mehta's navjoted grand children were denied permission to enter as their father is a non Parsi. 

The Parsi Zoroastrian Association of Calcutta filed an application praying to be added as a party to the suit. "The president of the association, Darayas Jamshed Bapooji, stated in his application that he should be a part of the hearing as the association 'represents the interests of a majority of members of the Zoroastrian community who are beneficiaries of the trust. By the association's impleading, all controversies and issues arising in the suit may be finally determined and set at rest, thereby avoiding multiplicity of suits.' The association will be represented by advocate Phiroze Edulji and the matter is to be heard by Justice Soumen Sen," ToI reported. 

"The petitioner's grandchildren had been visiting the Atash Adaran since 2006 without any dispute. However, with the change of the head priest (Dastur), the rights of admission, to the children of Parsi women (professing Zoroastrian faith but married to a non-Parsi), even if such children were duly initiated to the faith, were revoked," the daily quoted the petition as stating.

"While properly ordained children of Zoroastrian Parsi mothers have been denied the religious rights in the Atash Adaran with effect from April 1, 2013, the children of Zoroastrian Parsi men married to non-Parsi and non-Zoroastrian women continue to enjoy unfettered rights. The unilateral decision to prevent such children,is discriminatory and interferes with their right to worship and perform religious rites," the petition noted. 

Photo: The Calcutta agiary, inset Mehta