Thursday, August 18, 2005

Muslim law and courts: Remember Islamic laws under Muslim Personal Law are part of Indian Constitution

A person, Vishwamohan Madan, recently approached the Supreme Court and filed a complaint that the Islamic courts are functioning illegally in this country.

Madan has demanded that these courts ought to be banned. The Apex Court subsequently issued notices to seven states.

Also, it issued notices to the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, an umbrella body of Muslims, and the Darul Uloom Deoband seminary on this petition.

Social activist and community leader Mohammad Mahir has rightly said that courts are unknowingly getting into such traps.

Firstly, Muslim Personal Law is part of Indian constitution and the community has every right to appoint qazis and muftis for arbitration.

This is a fundamental right and all communities have their own kinds of panchayats and religious leaders to guide. Fatwa is the religious position [an opinion or an interpretation and not a verdict] as expressed by the scholars and does not come in way of civil courts.

Still, the bench of Supreme Court decided to send notices to state governments on this petition. It is unfortunate that the Muslim Personal Law that is an intrinsic part of Indian constitution is almost looked upon as an aberration and the spirit of constitution is violated.

Of course, there can be no question of a parallel judicial system. Our courts are supreme in all matters.