Will women be allowed to enter Haji Ali shrine? Bombay HC verdict today

The Bombay High Court is likely to pronounce on Tuesday its verdict on a plea challenging the ban on women to the grave of the saint inside the famous Haji Ali dargah here.

Last Updated: Jun 28, 2016, 12:08 PM IST
Will women be allowed to enter Haji Ali shrine? Bombay HC verdict today

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court is likely to pronounce on Tuesday its verdict on a plea challenging the ban on women to the grave of the saint inside the famous Haji Ali dargah here.

The petition was filed by women activists Noorjehan Niaz and Zakia Soman, and NGO Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan.

A division bench of Justice VM Kanade and Justice Revati Mohite-Dhere had reserved its orders in the matter on June 09.

 

The petitioners contended that women were permitted entry up to the grave (mazar) of the Muslim saint Sayyed Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari between 1865-2012.

Later, they contended that trustees denied women devotees access to the grave which tantamounts to gender discrimination and violated their Constitutional rights.

The judges had advised the petitioners to discuss and resolve the issues amicably with the shrine trustees, but that effort had failed.

 

The shrine was in the news since April when the Bhumata Brigade president Trupti Desai and her band of women attempted to storm the premises but were prevented by police.

Later, a group of NGOs united under the banner of 'Haji Ali For All' to campaign for the cause.

On May 12, they were peacefully allowed to offer prayers up to the permitted access, around four feet from the grave.

The women activists have said if they court verdict is in their favour, they would rush to offer prayers at the famous pilgrim site.

On Monday, Desai told reporters: "Bhumata Brigade staged a protest for the entry of women in Haji Ali mosque, a PIL was filed in Mumbai High Court and the court will give out its decision tomorrow (Tuesday). I want this decision to be historic and in favour of women and I hope that Bhumata Brigade`s movement emerges victorious. We came to Shani Shingnapur to pray for our victory."

The trustees have maintained the stand that permitting women up to the grave of the saint would be "anti-Islamic" and claimed immunity as it was a "minority trust".

The Haji Ali dargah of the 15th century Sufi saint is built on a tiny rocky islet around 500 metres from the Mumbai shoreline at Worli, accessed by a narrow pathway.

During high tide, the pathway is completely submerged, cutting off the islet from the mainland, as are also the approximately 50,000 devotees of all faiths who come to pray here daily.

(With IANS inputs)