Ban prohibiting women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah held unconstitutional [Dr. Noorjehan Safia Niaz v. State of Maharastra ; decided on 26.08.2016]

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The Bombay High Court, FOUR YEARS after the Haji Ali Dargah Trust barred women from entering the sanctum sanctorum, lifted the ban on Friday, saying it contravenes the Constitution and women should be allowed entry “at par with men”.

A division bench of Justices V M Kanade and Revati Mohite Dere said that such ban imposed by the dargah trust, prohibiting women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah, contravenes Articles 14 (equality before law), 15 (prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth) and 25 (free profession and practice and propagation of religion) of the Constitution… Women should be permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum at par with men. However the order has been stayed for 6 weeks , allowing the trust the liberty to appeal in the Supreme Court.

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