Bombay High Court on August 26 ruled that Women have the right to enter the inner sanctum of Haji Ali dargah and urged Haji Ali Dargah Trust to lift its restriction off them.
The trust had imposed this ban on women back in 2012 and had stopped allowing them from entering the inner sanctum of the dargah which houses the Mazaar or tomb of saint Haji Ali.
Challenging the restriction, a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed by the Maharashtra government urging HC to lift the restriction on women.
The Maharashtra government had said that the trust cannot ban women from entering the inner sanctum unless it is shown that banning them is integral to Islam.
Hearing into the case, the High Court bench held that the restriction is in contravention of Articles 14 (Right to Life), 15 (Prohibition of discrimination)and 21 (Right to Equality) of the Constitution of India and directed the status quo ante to be restored.
The bench also asked the state and the trust running the dargah to take steps for safety of women so no harm comes to them.
The trust earlier had defended the ban saying entry of women in close proximity to the tomb of a male saint is grievous sin in Islam.
The trust’s advocate Shoaib Memon had also argued that Article 26 of the Constitution confers upon the trust a fundamental right to manage their own affairs in matters of religion and thus such interference is uncalled for.
They are now planning to approach the Supreme Court to challenge HC’s verdict.