Bombay HC lifts ban on Women’s entry to inner sanctum of Haji Ali Durgah [Read Judgment]
The Bench held that the Ban is vioaltive of Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of India
In a significant Judgment Today, Bombay High Court has held that women can enter the inner sanctum of Mumbai’s famous Haji Ali Durgah.
A Division Bench comprising Justices VM Kanade and Revati Mohite Dere has allowed the Petitions against the ban, holding that the ban on the entry of women is violative of Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of India. The High Court has directed the State Government to give adequate protection for the visitors. The Bench has agreed to suspend the verdict for Six weeks enabling the trust to challenge the verdict in the Supreme Court.
"Admittedly, the Haji Ali Dargah Trust is a public charitable trust. It is open to people all over the world, irrespective of their caste, creed or sex, etc. Once a public character is attached to a place of worship, all the rigors of Articles 14, 15 and 25 would come into play and the respondent No. 2 Trust cannot justify its decision solely based on a misreading of Article 26. The respondent No. 2 Trust has no right to discriminate entry of women into a public place of worship under the guise of `managing the affairs of religion' under Article 26 and as such, the State will have to ensure protection of rights of all its citizens guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution, including Articles 14 and 15, to protect against discrimination based on gender. Infact, the right to manage the Trust cannot override the right to practice religion itself, as Article 26 cannot be seen to abridge or abrogate the right guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution. We may also note, that it is also not the respondent No. 2 Trust's claim that they are an independent religious denomination or a section thereof, having complete autonomy under Article 26. Thus, even considering the said fact, the protection claimed under Article 26 is clearly misconceived."said the Bench
The ban was imposed by Haji Ali Dargah Trust in 2012.
Read the Judgment here.