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NEW DELHI (Online) – Women have the right to enter the inner sanctum of Haji Ali dargah, Bombay high court ruled on Friday.

The court said the ban violated women’s fundamental rights and asked the state to ensure protection for female devotees, granting the trust six weeks to implement the order, Indian media reported.

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A bench of justice VM Kanade and Revati Mohite-Dere said the ban was against Article 14 (equality before law), Article 15 (no discrimination on sex, gender, religion etc) and Article 21 (right to life and liberty) of the Constitution.

The court directed the Haji Ali trust to grant access inside the shrine to “women at par with men” but the latter indicated it will appeal the verdict in Supreme Court of India.
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The decision came on a petition by a Muslim women’s foundation that asked the court to restore the shrine’s regulations to 2012, when women were allowed into the sanctum sanctorum albeit through separate queues and at restricted timings.

The trust had justified the ban, arguing the restriction was an integral part of Islam as the Quran says women must not touch the tombs of male saints.