Haji Ali.jpg
Haji Ali mosque in Mumbai, India.
Photograph: Photo by Marco Zanferrari, used under CC BY-SA

An Indian court on Friday overturned a ban on women entering the inner sanctum of Mumbai's Haji Ali mosque, marking another victory for women fighting gender discrimination at places of worship in India.

The high court in Mumbai ruled that the ban was discriminatory and in violation of the fundamental rights provided under the Indian constitution, Raju Moray, lawyer for the petitioner, Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (Indian Muslim Women's Movement), said.

The ban was imposed in 2012 when the Haji Ali trust said it would be a "grevious sin" for women to be allowed near the tomb of a Sufi saint, situated in the inner chamber of the mosque.

Moray said the order was suspended for the next six weeks since the trust's lawyers were challenging the ruling in the Supreme Court.

"It is a landmark decision and a big victory for women," said Bibi Khatoon from the women rights group which fought the ban. "Are not Sufi saints born to women? So why are women being prevented from entering the shrine?" she asked.

Friday's court ruling boosts a nationwide campaign by women groups demanding entry to places of worship in India. Earlier this year, Hindu women won the right of access to the Shani Shignapur temple in the state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is capital.

A petition involving the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple in south India, that denies entry to women of menstruating age, is also being heard by the Supreme Court.

Related stories

Latest news

Thousands of Romanians revive anti-government protests

Thousands of Romanians turned out on Sunday to renew their demands for the government to step down amid accusations it is trying to protect corrupt politicians.

Francis, first pope to visit Anglicans in Rome, weighs S Sudan trip

Pope Francis became the first leader of the Catholic Church to visit the Anglican community in Rome on Sunday, where he said he was considering a trip to famine-struck South Sudan.

Ibrahimovic lifts Man United past Southampton in League Cup final

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored an 87th-minute winner as Manchester United beat Southampton 3-2 in an exciting League Cup final on Sunday.

London screens Iranian director's film amid Oscars boycott

Thousands of people watched a free screeening of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's film "The Salesman" in London on Sunday to coincide with the Oscars.

Real Madrid stage comeback to stay top; Messi scores in Barcelona win

Lionel Messi scored the winner as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid 2-1 on Sunday to move top of the Spanish first division.

Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Hotel member of The Leading Hotels of the World

The Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Hotel has joined the Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd., a global hospitality consortium of more than 375 hotels and resorts in over 75 countries.

Biggest Bosnian Serb party ceases all contact with Izetbegovic over ICJ judjment review request

The main committee of the biggest Bosnian Serb party which makes up the ruling majority in Bosnia and Herzegovina decided o Sunday that its officials would cease all contact with member of the Bosnian President Bakir Izetbegovic until the crisis occurred following the submission of a request to the International Court of justice (ICJ) to review its ruling against Serbia is resolved.

Egypt court adjourns Morsi retrial over prison escape

An Egyptian court adjourned a case against former president Mohamed Morsi until March 29 on Sunday, during the first session of his retrial over orchestrating a prison escape during the 2011 uprising.

Hamas rejects Netanyahu's proposal for international forces in Gaza

The Islamic Hamas movement rejected on Sunday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's proposal to send international forces to the Gaza Strip, the coastal enclave that Hamas has been ruling since 2007.

Deloitte: Growing optimism among CFOs

Chief financial officers (CFOs) in Croatia are more optimistic about growth and financial prospects in 2017 than they were last year, with most of them expecting increases in their company's revenue, a survey shows.

Russian agents main suspects for attempted coup in Montenegro

Russian citizens Eduard Shumakov and Vladimir Popoc, suspected of organising terrorist activities in Montenegro and forming a criminal organisation, are agents of Russia's Main Intelligence Agency (GRU), British, U.S. and other intelligence agencies confirmed, the Podgorica-based media reported on Sunday.

Six injured, 96 detained in Berlin fan clashes

Six people were treated in hospital and 96 detained in clashes in Berlin between fans of Hertha Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt, police said Sunday.