Women Given Right to Enter Mosque

IAS Prelims 2023

Mumbai High Court ruled that women in India have the right to fully access a famous mosque in the city of Mumbai.

Ruling on a petition filed by Muslim women’s rights activists who demanded entry to the men-only inner sanctum of the Haji Ali Dargah, a Mumbai High Court bench said the restriction violated women’s fundamental right to equality.

The 15th century shrine, built on an islet 500 metres from the city’s coast, can only be reached at low tide and draws tens of thousands of worshippers every year.

In 2012, the trust which manages the shrine imposed a ban on women entering its inner sanctum saying that it would a “grievous sin” to allow women near the tomb of Sufi saint Haji Ali who is buried there.

However, court officials said women would not be able to immediately enter the shrine as the judgment has been suspended for six weeks after the Haji Ali Dargah Trust said it would appeal against the decision.

The fight to allow women into the shrine gained momentum after a petition was lodged earlier this year with the Supreme Court demanding access for women to the Hindu Sabarimala Ayyappa temple in southern state of Kerala.