Women can now enter Haji Ali, rules Bombay High Court

MUMBAI: Bombay High Court on Friday passed the order allowing entry of Muslim women in Mumbai’s Haji Ali Dargah. The court also asked the state to ensure safety and security of women entering the inner sanctum of the shrine.

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A two-judge division bench of the high court, comprising of Justice V M Kanade AMD and Justice Revati Mohite Dhere pronounced the verdict on the public interest litigation filed by women activists Noorjehan Niaz and Zakia Soman and the NGO Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan.
The ban was imposed in 2012 by the Haji Ali Dargah Trust citing some religious traditions as the reason. Authorities defended the ban saying that the entry of women in close proximity to the tomb of a male saint would be seen as a grievous sin in Islam.
The Maharashtra government had in February told the Bombay High Court that unless the Dargah Board is able to prove that the ban is a part of their religious practice with reference to the Quran, women should be allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum of Haji Ali.
The trust had claimed that separate arrangements have been made for women to walk up to a certain point from where they can offer prayers, but are not permitted to touch the tomb of a male saint as it is a sin in Islam.
with PTI