In what can be termed as a landmark victory by the devotees, the shrine trust board for Mumbai’s iconic Haji Ali Dargah has informed the honorable Supreme Court (SC) that it will allow women devotees to enter and offer their worship and prayers from next month onwards.
“Women will be treated at par with men,” the Haji Ali trust told the top court. Approximately two months back, the ban on entry of women in the shrine’s inner sanctum was struck down by the Bombay High court which was challenged by the shrine trust in the Supreme Court.
This landmark verdict by the apex court is likely to boost a nationwide movement of eradicating gender bias in places of worship and uphold women’s right to pray equally with men for the simple reason that God does not discriminate between men and women. Earlier this year gender equality activist and founder of Bhumata Brigade Trupti Desai along with many other women entered the Shani Shingnapur temple where also women are not permitted to worship. She had also met the members of the trust for Haji Ali Dargah and requested them not to challenge the Bombay High Court’s decision in the SC as she was confident that the highest court will uphold the constitutional right of women.
In the case of Haji Ali the HC had upheld that any kind of entry ban at religious places of worship is a direct violation of the fundamental rights of women and had asked the state to ensure protection of female devotees. The decision had come after a petition by a Muslim women’s foundation that asked the court to restore the shrine’s regulations back to 2012 when women were allowed in the inner sanctum sanatorium of the shrine through separate lines and in restricted timings.