A group of female law students have moved a plea in the Delhi High Court seeking directions to the Centre and other authorities to allow entry of women into the sanctum sanctorum of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Dargah in New Delhi.
According to the reports, the public interest litigation has been filed by advocate Kamlesh Kumar Mishra on behalf of a group of female students from Pune and sought the court to issue directions to the Centre, Delhi government, police and the trust managing the shrine, to frame guidelines for the entry of women into the dargah and declare the ban on entry of females as “unconstitutional”.
The petition is likely to come up for a hearing next week in the Delhi High Court. The petitioners have claimed that there is a notice put up outside the dargah clearly stating in English and Hindi that women are not allowed inside.
In their petition, the law students have claimed that they are yet to receive any response from any authorities despite making several representations to them, including the Delhi Police and hence decided to move to the high court.
In the petition, the petitioners have contended that the Supreme Court has allowed women of all ages to go to Sabarimala shrine in Kerala, while women in the heart of the national capital are being discriminated by prohibiting them from entering the dargah. According to the petition, the law students became aware of this ban on women’s entry to the dargah when they visited the shrine on November 27 to offer prayers.
The petitioners in their PIL have further added, “Nizamuddin Dargah by its very nature is a public place and prohibition of entry of anyone in a public place on the basis of gender is contrary to the framework of the Constitution of India.”
The debate over the right to worship has been gaining momentum in the country. The Supreme Court in its recent controversial judgement had allowed women of all ages to enter the shrine leading to a nation-wide debate on excessive judicial interference in religious matters. The Bombay High Court hearing a petition in 2016 had ordered to open the doors of the famous Haji Ali Dargah to allow women to enter the inner precincts (mazaar) of the shrine.