The Maharashtra government on Tuesday told the Bombay High Court that it supported the entry of women into Mumbai's famous Haji Ali Dargah. The government said that the fundamental rights of a citizen are above customs and traditions. The court had earlier this month asked the state government to give its opinion on a public interest litigation that challenged the decision of the Haji Ali Trust to ban the entry of women in the inner sanctum of the dargah.
A group of Muslim women had launched a protest at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan last month, demanding women be allowed to pray in the dargah. The trustees of the dargah had told the court that having women in close proximity to the grave of a male Muslim saint is considered a grievous sin in Islam. The petitioners, however, claimed that gender justice is inherent in the Quran.
The court had indicated last month that it would wait for the Supreme Court's ruling on the entry of women in the Sabarimala temple in Kerala before deciding on the Haji Ali plea.