However, a division bench of Justice Justice VM Kanade and Justice Revati Mohite-Dhere stayed the judgement for six weeks to allow an appeal in the Supreme Court.

The court's ruling came on a PIL filed by NGO Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan and women activists Noorjehan Niaz and Zakia Soman. Bhumata Brigade president Trupti Desai, who was spearheading the movement to allow women’s entry, has welcomed the decision and said it is a big win for women.

In April 2016, Trupti Desai and her band of women attempted to enter the dargah, but were prevented by police. Desai, who reached near the entry of the causeway leading to the dargah situated on an islet off Worli coast in South Mumbai with fellow activists, left the spot after a few minutes as the protesters gathered around them to thwart their attempt. Zakia Soman, the petitioner in the Haji Ali Dargah case, also welcomed the decision and said it is a great step towards justice for Muslim women.

Meanwhile, MIM leader Haji Rafat said, “The High Court should not have interfered but now that they have given a decision against us we will approach the Supreme Court.”

Earlier, the Maharashtra government had told the court that women should be barred from entering the inner sanctorum only if it says so in the Quran.

The ban on women's entry cannot be justified if it is on the basis of an expert's interpretation of the Quran, the then Maharashtra Advocate General Shrihari Aney had argued. The dargah trust had defended its stand saying that it is referred in Quran that allowing women close proximity to the dargah of a male saint is a grievous sin.

Trupti Desai: Woman who challenged history and tradition

Past Decisions On Women’s Entry
Earlier, the Supreme Court strongly denounced the religious custom barring the entry of women between the ages of 10 and 50 at the Sabarimala temple and said, "Gender equality is a constitutional message and the ban on entry of women of a particular age group in the historic Sabarimala temple cannot be claimed as a right to manage religious affairs by its management.

Yielding to a high voltage campaign by activists, the Shani Shingnapur temple trust in Maharashtra also allowed women to enter the sanctum sanctorum, breaking the tradition followed for several decades.
(With agency inputs)

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