In a landmark decision, the Bombay High Court on 26 August allowed the entry of women into the inner sanctum of the city's famed Haji Ali Dargah.
The High Court declared its verdict on a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the ban on the entry of women into Haji Ali Dargah's inner sanctum.
Bombay HC has asked the state to ensure safety and security of women entering the inner sanctum of Haji Ali.
Bombay HC has asked the state to ensure safety and security of women entering the inner sanctum of Haji Ali. However, the women will not be able to enter the Haji Ali for some more time as the trust that runs the shrine has expressed its willingness to appeal against the decision in the Supreme Court. Therefore, the Bombay High Court's verdict is currently suspended or put on hold for six weeks.
"HC should not have interfered but now that they have given a decision against us we will approach Suprme Court," Haji Rafat, MIM told ANI.
A two-judge division bench of the high court, comprising Justice VM Kanade and Justice Revati Mohite Dhere pronounced the verdict.
The ban was imposed in 2012 by the Haji Ali Dargah Trust, citing religious traditions as the reason.
The PIL was filed by women activists Noorjehan Niaz and Zakia Soman and the NGO Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan.
The Haji Ali Trust, as the respondent in the case, defended the ban saying 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 ANI inputs