The Bombay High Court ruled to allow the entry of women into the inner sanctum sanctorum of the 15th century shrine Haji Ali.
While The High Court ruled to allow women into Haji Ali, the trustees of the shrine are completely against the decision. Due to this the women cannot enter the sanctum as of now; the judgement has been put on hold for six weeks. The trustees said that it would be a sin for women to be allowed anywhere near the tomb of the sufi saint’s housed within the mosque.
The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Dr. Nooyehan Safia Niaz and Zakia Soman who are the co-founders of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan. The Haji Ali Dargah Trust banned women to enter further the mazar in the year 2012. The PIL was filed in November, 2014.
The landmark verdict read: “The Trust has no power to alter or modify the mode or manner of religious practices of any individual or any group. Admittedly, the Haji Ali Dargah Trust is a public charitable trust. It is open to people all over the world, irrespective of their caste, creed or sex, etc.
“It is also the duty of the State to ensure the safety and security of the women at such places. The State is equally under an obligation to ensure that the fundamental rights are protected and that the right of access into the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah is not denied to women.”
This is a huge step against the discrimination of women, but there are still a lot of religious places where women aren’t allowed. All we can do is hope that the Supreme Court also stands by the decision of the Bombay High Court.