Five months before the Maharashtra Government ensured that entry of no woman should be denied into the Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar and now Bombay High Court has ruled that no woman will be barred from entering the inner sanctum of the Haji Ali shrine in Mumbai.
Bombay High Court on Friday said that the ban imposed on women opposes the fundamental rights of a person provided in Constitution and violates Article 15 (prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion), violating Article 14 (equality before the law) and Article 21 (right to life and personal liberty).
The first woman qazi of Uttar Pradesh, Hina Zaheer said that this is a good and logical judgement. A co-petitioner in the case, Zakia Soman said that this is a great step towards justice for Muslim women.
A Muslim women’s rights group, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan moved the Bombay High Court after the trustees of Haji Ali Dargah banned women from entering the tomb of the male saint which is located inside the Dargah complex.
The Bombay HC has stayed its order to remove the ban for six weeks as Haji Ali Dargah Trust sent a plea which wants to challenge the ruling of High Court in the Supreme Court.
Maulana Sajid Rashidi, a prominent cleric there said that this is wrong because the High Court has taken a step without knowing about Sharia Law.
The Maharashtra Government had also opposed the ban placed on women in the Haji Ali Shrine. It said that the trustees of the Dargah have to remove the ban on women unless they could prove that it has some reference in the Quran.
The decision of Bombay High Court is a boost to the nationwide movement for women to gain access to such places of worship which have banned their entry for centuries.
26 August 2016
Avni S. Singh