WOMEN WILL now be allowed access near the sanctum sanctorum of Mumbai’s renowned Haji Ali dargah. The Supreme Court on Monday recorded an undertaking by the Dargah Trust that it would allow equal access to men and women inside the shrine, and near the mazaar (mausoleum) in the sanctum sanctorum.
A bench led by Chief Justice T S Thakur recorded that the Dargah Trust will comply with the Bombay High Court’s order on allowing access to women on a par with men, and restoration of status quo ante — or the same situation — as it existed in 2011.
Until 2011, men and women were granted equal access and were allowed to touch the mazaar in the sanctum sanctorum.
The court granted the Trust four weeks to “remove all obstructions” and make requisite infrastructure and other
changes for compliance with the High Court order. The court also recorded that the Trust had passed a resolution on
October 11, specifying that it would henceforth give equal access to men and women.
According to the October 11 resolution and the additional affidavit adduced in court by the Dargah Trust, both men and women would now be barred from touching the mazaar in the sanctum sanctorum.
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Only khadims (caretakers) of the shrine would have permission to touch it. This, in a way, means curtailing access of men in order to bring them on a par with women.