Women's rights

High court lifts ban on women entering Haji Ali's inner sanctum, but stays order for six weeks

While the bench found the curb unconstitutional, the shrine's trustees have sought more time from the Mumbai bench as they want to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Mumbai High Court on Friday lifted the ban that barred women from entering the inner sanctum of the Haji Ali Dargah. However, it stayed the order for six weeks after the Haji Ali trust sought time to challenge the verdict in the Supreme Court, ANI reported.

A two-judge division bench of the court, comprising Justice VM Kanade AMD and Justice Revati Mohite Dhere, was hearing a plea by activists and the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan. It found that preventing women from entering the dargah goes against Articles 14, 15, 19, and 25 of the Indian constitution, which deal with the right to equality, the right against discrimination based on gender, freedom of movement and freedom of religion. It had also directed the state and the Haji Ali Trust ensure that women entering the dargah are safe.

The shrine's trust had banned women from entering the mausoleum in 2011, saying it was a "grievous sin" in Islam for women to be in close proximity to the grave of a male Muslim saint. Earlier in the year, Bhumata Rangragini Brigade leader Trupti Desai visited the dargah, but she was stopped from entering the premises on April 28. After her visit, she had said the administration should relax thesir restriction on allowing women inside the inner sanctum.

Desai had earlier campaigned for women to enter the Shani Shingnapur Temple in Maharashtra. She, along with other activists of her organisation, were detained while trying to enter Nashik's Trimbakeshwar Temple. In April, the high court ruled that women should be allowed into all places of worship where men are given entry.

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