New Delhi, 7 July-2014, NDTV: The Supreme Court will deliver a judgement on Monday on whether Shariat courts are unconstitutional or not.
The Top Court will give its verdict on a petition filed by a Delhi-based advocate Vishwa Lochan Madan, challenging parallel courts run by institutions like the Darul Qaza and Darul-Iftaa.
The petitioner had argued that Shariat courts are illegal and operated as parallel courts in the country deciding on religious and social freedoms of Muslim citizens, and that fundamental rights of Muslims cannot be controlled and curtailed by fatwas issued by qazis and muftis appointed by Muslim organisations.
While reserving the verdict in February this year, the Supreme Court observed that it cannot interfere with fatwas or religious decrees issued by Muslim clerics, “These are political-religious issues. We can’t decide them. In this country some people believe Gangajal can cure all ailments. It is a matter of belief.”
The petitioner also told the court that the Darul Qaza and Darul-Iftaa function in 52 to 60 districts which have a sizeable Muslim population. He said Muslims cannot contest these decrees or fatwas, and alleged that these interfere with the life and liberty of citizens. Mr Madan had also argued that a Muslim girl had to desert her husband because a fatwa directed her to live with her father-in-law who had allegedly raped her.
“Don’t be over dramatic,” the court told the petitioner, adding, “We will come to her rescue. You are assuming all fatwas are irrational. Some fatwas may be wise and may be for general good also. People in this country are wise enough. If two Muslims agree for mediation, who can stay it? It is a blend of arbitration and mediation.”
The Muslim Personal Law Board argued that if fatwas affect fundamental rights, one can approach the court. The then UPA government had told the court that it will not interfere with the Muslim personal law unless it affects the fundamental rights of individuals.