Haji Ali Dargah to give Women Complete Access In 4 weeks

Haji Ali Dargah Trust on 24 October 2016 told Supreme Court (SC) that it will grant equal access to women to the inner sanctorum of the Haji Ali shrine in Mumbai on a par with men. The Dargah Trust sought four weeks time for making changes in the infrastructure.

A bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao granted time to the trust and disposed off its appeal against the Bombay High Court order asking it to give equal access to women also.

Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, appearing for the trust, filed an additional affidavit on behalf of the Dargah trust to allow women inside the shrine. 

The Supreme Court earlier on 17 October 2016 extended the stay granted by Bombay High Court to facilitate an appeal  against its decision to lift the ban on entry of women.


The bench remarked that if you are not allowing both men and women to go beyond a point, there is no problem. But if you are allowing some to go beyond a point while others are not, it is a problem.

Background

The 15th century shrine located on a rocky outcrop in the Arabian Sea, 500m from the Mumbai coastline, houses the tomb of Sufi saint Haji Ali. The trust had banned women from the inner sanctum in 2012.

On 26 August 2016, the Bombay High Court lifted the ban after hearing the petition filed by Noorjehan Fiaz and Zakia Soman, founders of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), against the ban, calling it unconstitutional.

The High Court had held that the ban contravened Articles 14, 15 and 25 of the Indian Constitution. It also held that the trust had no power to alter or modify the mode or manner of religious practices of any individual or any group.

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