The Haji Ali Dargah Trust on Monday told the Supreme Court that it was ready to implement the Bombay High Court order and that it will allow women inside the sanctum sanctorum of the dargah.
A bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao granted time to the trust and disposed off its appeal against the Bombay High Court order asking it to give equal access to women also.
Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, appearing for the trust, said an additional affidavit has been filed on behalf of the Dargah trust saying it is willing to allow women inside the shrine. The Supreme Court had questioned the need for separate entry to men and women in the dargah, to which the Trust’s counsel replied that it had always been that way. “We are concerned only about equal access to women and not in the reason as to why the trust is doing it now,” the bench said. The bench had also remarked that “if you are not allowing both men and women to go beyond a point, there is no problem. But if you are allowing some to go beyond a point while others are not, it is a problem.”
Subramanium, had also assured the bench that he was on a “progressive mission” and said all holy books and scriptures promoted equality and nothing which is regressive in character should be suggested.
On August 26, the Bombay High Court lifted a ban imposed on women from entering the inner sanctum of Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai. Noorjehan Fiaz and Zakia Soman, founders of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), had petitioned the Bombay High Court against the ban, calling it unconstitutional.
The 2011 ban violates the women’s right to freedom of religion enshrined in Article 25 of the constitution. The PIL stated that gender justice is inherent in the Quran and there is no prohibition on women visiting graves.