NEW DELHI: The Trust for Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai has mandated that women are not to be allowed inside the sanctum sanctorum of the tomb. The Trust said that it’s a sin to allow the women to be in the proximity of the dead saint’s resting place.

A bench of Justices, V M Kanade and Shalini Phansalkar, while hearing a petition from Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), had earlier directed the Trust to resolve the matter amicably and allow the women to visit the shrine, including the sanctum sanctorum, else they will have to hear the arguments from both parties and then decide on it.

But the advocate, Shoaib Memon, appearing for the Trust has said that as per the meeting convened on August 6 of the Shrine members, they have reached on a conclusion unanimously, that is to bar women from going anywhere near the grave of the saint. He presented the Court with a letter, which read, ““The trustees are unanimous on the point that entry of women in close proximity of a grave of male Muslim saint is a grievous sin as per Islam and as such governed by Constitution law and particularly Article 26 of the Constitution, which confers upon the Trust a fundamental right to manage its own affairs of religion and as such interference is uncalled for by any third agency.

“The existing arrangement for women provides a secure place to them. This has been decided in the interest of safety and security of the women close to the inner sanctum sanctorum of the tomb as possible, considering that the arrangement has been welcomed by women pilgrims,” the letter further said.

The letter has been taken on record by the judges and next hearing has been scheduled for 17 November.

In the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by the BMMA, it had argued that there are tenets of gender justice inherent in the Koran, and current practice to disallow women from entering the sanctum sanctorum is subversion of what is written in Hadith, which is now being corrupted with Salafi ideology.

Advocate for the petitioner, Raju Moray, pointed out that nowhere is it mandatory that women be kept out of the sanctum sanctorum of the dargahs. Women are allowed inside near the tomb in the Maqdoom Shah Dargah of suburban Mumbai, he said.