Friday, July 10, 2015

Bombay HC frowns on govt for silence over women’s plea on Haji Ali - By Rosy Sequeira,TNN - THE TIMES OF INDIA - MUMBAI | Comments by Ghulam Muhammed

My comments posted on Times of India, Mumbai webpage over Rosy Sequiera's News report:

Bombay HC frowns on govt for silence over women’s plea on Haji Ali

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Ghulam MuhammedMumbai4 mins ago

Petitioner's lawyer Raju Moray is on slippery ground when he contends that since the shrine is on Public/State land, the state has a right to interfere in the affairs of the occupier trust. Haji Ali grave is occupying the island for over centuries. State could go for vacation of the land, if it so pleases. But then it is clear that the occupiers age old occupation cannot be vacated by state or vested interests instigating tangential matters in the nature of a blackmail. The trustees had full right to administer the dargah, as per the clear advise by the Holy Prophet for the women not to visit graves. Moray's citing of practice of other Dargah's donot hold, as the fundamental point in Islam is what Quran and Prophet say. Other practice of Dargah's is their own choice and they will have to account for Almighty on their judgement day. Here, as far as state or Raju Moray is concerned, they are intruding on the constitutional rights of freedom of religion of people. Islam has a billion followers spread out all over the world. There is no central authority, like a Khalifa to decide matters in a decisive manner. Under such conditions, people or groups are at liberty to follow their own conscience keep the fear of Almighty in their affairs. The secular state has to keep out of the affairs of all religion, even the Hindu religion, as far as its governance is concerned. The activists who have filed a PIL are looking for trouble. They are possibly more interested in women's rights as a new wave of women's liberation. It is for them to decide if they adhere to the strict strictures of Islam or are followers of anti-religious Western ideas of women's liberation that is uprooting entire societies world over. India's secularism is at stake just like that of United States, where religion has now taken second place. That's not the case with India. We respect all religions and our religious traditions are alive and thriving. Judiciary too should be aware of the issues of wider impact involved, before taking up such vexatious plaints that are meant to be disruptive and destructive. The court should have thrown out the petition as internal matter of Muslims.


The Times of India

Bombay HC frowns on govt for silence over women’s plea on Haji Ali

,TNN | Jul 11, 2015, 06.13 AM IST
MUMBAI: Even as the Bombay high court on Friday appealed for resolving the dispute over the ban on women into the inner sanctum of the Hali Ali Dargah, it frowned upon the state government for not taking a stand in the matter. 
A bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice B P Colabawalla began the final hearing of a PIL by activists Noorjehan Niaz and Zakia Soman to lift restrictions imposed since June 2012 at the mazaar, or tomb, of the saint.
The judges took note that the state had not filed a reply and also took note of a statement made to the press by former state minorities development minister Arif Naseem Khan that the petitioners should try to persuade the muftis and maulanas to take a decision on whether to allow women and that the state will not interfere. "It appears that the state government does not want to take a stand, one way or the other," the bench said.
Petitioners' advocate Raju Moray said, "Why should we go to muftis and maulanas to plead our case when the Constitution gives us rights?" He said the Haji Ali Dargah Trust is using government land and is a public trust and hence the state cannot remain a silent spectator. The judges agreed, saying "in a matter like this, it is very important for the state government to take a stand". 

Moray said the decision was imposed arbitrarily by the trust without hearing persons who are going to be affected. "They (petitioners) have been visiting the shrine since their childhood. They felt the ban is unreasonable and especially as it is not mandated by religion nor practiced in other dargahs," he explained. 

The trust's advocate Shoaib Memon denied that women were allowed in the inner sanctum before the ban. "They are allowed up to a certain point. They can't touch the grave," he said. Moray said the trust in its reply has admitted that the ban was effected after the trustees were made to realize by clergy that allowing women in the inner sanctum is a sin. "If it is un-Islamic, (other shrines) would not permit women," said Moray. 

Justice Kanade said, "See that it can be sorted out. Otherwise we will decide it one way or the other."

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