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Women’s entry to Haji Ali: SC to hear appeal against Bombay HC’s verdict

Monsoon clouds gather over Haji Ali mosque during heavy rains in India's financial capital Mumbai June 7, 2008. The monsoon usually covers the entire country by mid-July, and provides the main source of water for agriculture, which contributes around 17 percent to India's GDP. Good rains have helped Asia's third-largest economy to grow 9 percent in the past three years. REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe (INDIA)
Monsoon clouds gather over Haji Ali mosque during heavy rains in India's financial capital Mumbai June 7, 2008. The monsoon usually covers the entire country by mid-July, and provides the main source of water for agriculture, which contributes around 17 percent to India's GDP. Good rains have helped Asia's third-largest economy to grow 9 percent in the past three years. REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe (INDIA)

lhi [India]: The Supreme Court will on Friday resume hearing in the appeal filed by the Haji Ali Dargah Trust, challenging the Bombay High Court’s verdict allowing women in the inner sanctum of the dargah.

The apex court on Tuesday agreed to hear the appeal by the Dargah Trust challenging the Bombay High Court’s verdict.

On August 26, the Bombay High Court lifted the ban imposed on women from entering the inner sanctum of Haji Ali Dargah, in Mumbai.

Noorjehan Fiaz and Zakia Soman, founders of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), had petitioned the Bombay High Court against the ban, calling it unconstitutional.

The 2011 ban violates the women’s right to freedom of religion enshrined in Article 25 of the constitution.

The PIL stated that gender justice is inherent in the Quran, and there is no prohibition on women visiting graves.

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”. It is a sin as per Islam for women to be in close proximity of a male Muslim saint’s grave.

On July 10, 2015, a Bench headed by Justice V.M. Kanade set aside previous order framing eight questions by an earlier bench of the high court on maintainability and decided to hear PIL on merits.

Earlier this year, Muslim women across Mumbai staged protests to lift the ban against their entry in the dargah. They demanded that women should be allowed to pray in the sanctum of the famous shrine, but the clerics called their demands “un-Islamic”.

Meanwhile, Bhumata Brigade leader Trupti Desai has expressed confidence in the apex court to come through for women’s equality.

Speaking to ANI here, Desai asserted that the top court will pronounce a decision respecting the High Court’s decision and will pronounce a verdict supporting the rights of women.

“I am not really worried as I’m sure the Constitution will emerge victorious again and women will win here as well,” Desai said. (ANI)

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