Women will be granted access to the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali shrine in Mumbai on par with men, the Dargah Trust told the Supreme Court on Monday and sought four weeks to make the requisite infrastructural changes. A bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao granted time to the trust and disposed off its appeal against the Bombay High Court order asking it to give equal access to women also.
Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, appearing for the trust, said an additional affidavit has been filed on behalf of the Dargah trust saying it is willing to allow women inside the shrine. The apex court, on October 17, 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 of the Dargah in Mumbai.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had expressed hope that the Trust, which had challenged the high court judgement, “will take a stand which is progressive”. Subramanium, had also 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.” The counsel, appearing for a women’s group which has challenged the practice of the Trust not to allow women near the sanctum sanctorum, had submitted that the position was different before 2011 than what it is today.