Haji Ali Dargah Must Allow Women To Enter The Inner Sanctum, Bombay High Court Rules
Women have the right to enter the inner sanctum of Haji Ali Dargah, Bombay High Court ruled on Friday.
A division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice Revati Mohite-Dere said the ban order by the Haji Ali Dargah Trust contravenes Article 14 (equality before law within India), 15 (prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, caste, sex), 19 (1)(d) (to move freely throughout the territory of India) and 25 (freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propogation of religion) of the Indian Constitution.
However, the bench granted a stay on the order for six weeks on a plea by the Trust, which wanted to go on appeal in the Supreme Court.
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The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Noor Jahan of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan in November 2014.
The PIL states that women were going to the dargah since childhood, and suddenly in June 2012, the Trust restricted the entry of women to the inner area of the dargah.
Earlier, the trustees of the dargah told the court that entry of women in close proximity to the grave of a male Muslim saint is considered a grievous sin in Islam. The existing arrangement provides for a secure place for women to offer prayers.
“This has been decided in the interest of women and they are close to the inner area of the tomb as far as possible.”
Advocate Raju Moray appearing for the petitioner said this is a case of gender discrimination, and women are made to feel like second class citizens. He also told the court that the trust took this decision as told by maulanas and maulvis.
Haji Rafat, MIM of the Haji Ali Dargah, said the high court should not have interfered in the issue. The trust will now approach the Supreme Court, he said.