Haji Ali women entry case: Bombay HC asks stakeholders to submit arguments in two weeks

The division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice Revati Mohite Dere made the observation after hearing the arguments of the parties concerned.

By: PTI | Mumbai | Published:February 9, 2016 5:02 pm
Haji Ali, Women Entry, Sabrimala temple, Shani Shingnapur, women empowerment, gender equality, Bomba high Court, mumbai, sanctum sanctorum, Islam The dargah, which houses the tomb of Iranian saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, is said to have been built in 1431. (Vasant Prabhu)

Reserving its judgement on the ban of entry of women in the sanctum sanctorum of Haji Ali Durgah in Mumbai, the Bombay High on Tuesday asked all the parties to submit their arguments in writing in two weeks.

The division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice Revati Mohite Dere made the observation after hearing the arguments of the parties concerned.

The Durgah Board said that the sanctum sanctorum of the durgah houses the grave of a male saint and in Islam it is sin for women to touch male saint, and hence, women are barred from touching the tomb.

Petitioner Raju More, however, contended that as per Haji Ali’s website, no one is buried inside the tomb, hence, it is not a graveyard of a saint.

“I also gave the court a print out of what is officially mentioned on the Haji Ali’s website in support of my argument,” he said.

The State Advocate General, on the other hand, said unless the Durgah Board is able to prove that ban is part of their religious practice with reference to Quran, women should be allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum of Haji Ali.

The court on February 3 had asked the state government to express its opinion on the PIL challenging the decision of Haji Ali Trust to ban the entry of women in the sanctum sanctorum of the historic durgah.

This is for the first time that the state has been asked to give its views on women’s entry into a shrine.

The HC had indicated last month that it would wait for the Supreme Court’s ruling on entry of women in Sabarimala temple in Kerala before deciding on the plea.

A petition in the apex court has sought entry for all women and girls in the Sabarimala temple which, as a practice, does not allow girls after attaining puberty to enter the premises. The temple, however, allows only those women to enter who have reached the menopause stage.