New Delhi: The Haji Ali Dargah Trust on Monday told the Supreme Court that it will grant access to women into the inner sanctum of the dargah, on par with men.
The top court has granted four weeks time to the Dargah Trust to make requisite infrastructural changes for granting access to
The Haji Ali Dargah Trust’s had challenged a Bombay High Court order lifting the ban on women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the renowned Muslim shrine in South Mumbai.
The apex court had on October 7 extended the stay on the entry of women into the dargah’s sanctum till October 17 after the dargah management said that it would come out with a progressive stand in two weeks.
On August 26, the Bombay HC held that the ban imposed by the Trust, prohibiting women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah, contravened Articles 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution and said that women should be permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum like men do.
Noorjehan Fiaz and Zakia Soman, founders of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), had approached the Bombay HC against the ban, calling it unconstitutional. Prior to 2011, the dargah did not discriminate against women and allowed free entry of people across religions. On March 2011, the dargah’s board of trustees imposed a ban on women’s entry, calling it a “grievous sin”.
On July 10, 2015, a bench headed by Justice VM Kanade set aside the previous order framing eight questions by an earlier bench of the High Court on maintainability and decided to hear the PIL on merits.
The High Court had held that the Trust had no power to alter or modify the mode or manner of religious practices of any individual or any group. The High Court in its 56-page judgement had also noted that the “right to manage the Trust cannot override the right to practise religion itself”.