The Haji Ali Dargah case

As expected, anticipated and hoped for, the Bombay High Court has struck down the ban on women from entering the inner sanctorum (‘mazaar’)at the Haji Ali dargah. Justices V. M. Kanade and Revati Mohite Dere held the Dargah Trust’s stance violative of Articles 14, 15 & 25 of the Constitution, and refused to entertain the Trust’s claim that the ban of women falls within the right granted to it by Article 26 to manage its own affairs in the matters of religion, stating that a ban on entry to women was not a practice essential to Islam.

This follows the High Court’s directive earlier this year in the Shani Shingnapur case calling on the Maharashtra government to ensure that women are allowed entry to that temple (the EPW carries an essay on it in their latest issue). The Supreme Court’s judgment on a similar matter in the Sabarimala temple case is now awaited.