Thu, Dec 8, 2016 | updated 03:46 AM IST

Bombay HC allows women entry into inner sanctum of Haji Ali Dargah

Updated: Aug 26, 2016 11:55 IST
Mumbai [India], Aug. 26 (ANI): In a landmark verdict, the Bombay High Court on Friday allowed women entry into the inner sanctum of the city's famed Haji Ali Dargah.

A two-judge division bench of the high court, comprising of Justice V M Kanade AMD and Justice Revati Mohite Dhere said, "State to give necessary protection to the respondents."

Divulging the details of the judgment, Raju More, the petitioner lawyer, said, "Today, the Bombay High Court has given its reserved judgment and set aside the ban which was imposed on the entry of women and they have restored the status quo 'anti', that means earlier position when women were allowed has been restored."

"It has been held that the ban violates Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution and, therefore, the ban has been set aside. The high court has taken the view that the ban is unconstitutional," he added.

The lawyer further said that after the pronouncement of the judgment, the Haji Ali Trust said that they wish to go to the Supreme Court and want an eight-week stay.

"I opposed it. I said that since its a restoration of the earlier position, there is no need to grant stay. But the high court felt and rightly so that this is an important constitutional issue and, therefore, they have granted six weeks stay on the operation of the order," he said.

Therefore, the women will not be allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the dargah for the next six weeks.

The ban was imposed in 2012 by the Haji Ali Dargah Trust citing some religious traditions as the reason.

The PIL was filed by women activists Noorjehan Niaz and Zakia Soman and the NGO Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan.

The Haji Ali Trust, as the respondent in the case, defended the ban saying that the entry of women in close proximity to the tomb of a male saint would be seen as a grievous sin in Islam.

The Maharashtra government had in February told the Bombay High Court that unless the Dargah Board is able to prove that the ban is a part of their religious practice with reference to the Quran, women should be allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum of Haji Ali.

The trust had claimed that separate arrangements have been made for women to walk up to a certain point from where they can offer prayers, but are not permitted to touch the tomb of a male saint as it is a sin in Islam. (ANI)