Millennium Post

Women can enter Haji Ali dargah: Bombay HC

In a landmark judgment, the Bombay High Court on Friday lifted the ban imposed on women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of Haji Ali Dargah here, saying it contravenes fundamental rights and that the trust has no right to prohibit women’s entry into a public place of worship.

“We hold that the ban imposed by the Dargah Trust, prohibiting women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah contravenes Articles 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution of India. Women should be permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum at par with men,” a division Bench of Justices V M Kanade and Revati Mohite Dere said. Under these Articles, a person has the fundamental right to practice any religion he or she wants. They prohibit discrimination on grounds of religion, gender and so on, and provide freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion. The court has, however, stayed its order for six weeks following a plea by Haji Ali Dargah Trust, which wants to challenge it in the Supreme Court.  The Bench allowed a PIL filed by two women, Zakia Soman and Noorjehan Niaz, from an NGO, challenging the ban on women’s entry into the sanctum sanctorum of the dargah from 2012. “The state government and the Haji Ali Dargah Trust will have to take proper steps to ensure safety and security of women at the said place of worship,” the court said.
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