Women get access to sanctum sanctorum of Haji Ali shrine

Monday, Oct 24, 2016,18:37 IST By metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | Women will now on be granted access near the sanctum sanctorum of Mumbai’s historic Haji Ali shrine like men, the Dargah Trust told the Supreme Court on Monday.

The apex court granted four weeks time to the Trust to make requisite infrastructural and other changes for compliance of the Bombay High Court order on the issue.

“The Haji Ali Dargah Trust truely believes in complete equality between men and women,” the counsel for the Trust told a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur.

Seeking compliance of High Court’s order in “letter and spirit”, the bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao, disposed of the appeal of Dargah Trust saying, “So long as, you (trust) grant access to women as asked by the High Court, we don’t have any problem.”

Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, appearing for the Dargah Trust, said an additional affidavit has been filed to the effect that the Trust was willing to allow women inside.

Subramanium, however, sought two weeks for making some “logistic” and infrastuctural changes for compliance of the High Court order.

“We will grant you four weeks time,” the bench responded.

The senior lawyer also referred to an additional affidavit and the notification issued by the Trust on October 11 that they were not averse to the entry of women inside the Haji Ali shrine in south Mumbai.

Earlier, the apex court had extended the stay granted by Bombay High Court to facilitate an appeal against its decision to lift the ban on entry of women near the sanctum sanctorum till today.

The apex court had on October 7 expressed hope that the Trust, which had challenged the high court judgement, “will take a stand which is progressive”.

Subramanium had then 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.

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.”