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Sharia Courts : Telangana’s attempt to murder the tenets of constitution and democracy ?

  • vishnu vardhan | TeamPresentMirror | Updated: Sept. 24, 2020, 3:14 p.m.

Demand of setting up Sharia courts is not something new to pop up. Since a long time, several Muslim bodies, including the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) had expressed its desire of setting up Sharia courts in India. AIMPLB had gone to the extent of claiming that it wants to establish Sharia courts in each district of the country. The question being, do such kangaroo courts adhere to values of constitution?


While answering a question raised by AIMIM floor leader Akbarududdin Owaisi in Telangana Assembly, the Minority Welfare Minister Koppula Eshwar assured that the government is committed in protecting the Waqf properties across the state and also said judicial power to the Waqf Board will be considered by the Chief Minister.

The Waqf endowments in the terms of properties in India are unimaginably huge. Akbaruddin Owaisi claimed ISB, Wipro, Microsoft and international Airport many buildings have come up under Waqft properties. He further noted, "if there were around 77,539 acres of land identified as Waqf properties in the first survey conducted in 1954. Now, after serious encroachments from 1954, there are only 3,372 acres of land in telangana as per the second survey.

What are Sharia courts?

The word 'sharia' refers to Islamic laws based on Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammad, is inseparable from the practice of Islam. These laws cannot be changed. There is no room for reform as these are considered to be the laws of divine.

Sharia courts are most commonly known as Dar-Ul-Qaza, it is essentially a council headed by Qazi- an Islamic scholar who acts as a judge in the court. But these courts are mostly referred to as counselling centres or institutes. Because, it depends on both the parties to accept the judgement. If they are not satisfied with the judgement they are free to approach regular courts.

Sharia courts look after matters allowed under the Muslim personal law application act 1937 set by the then British government. This law deals with marriage, succession, inheritance and charities among Muslims.

Do we really need this parallel judiciary system?

In the year 2014, a 28 year old woman, the mother of five was raped by her father-in-law. In this case the fatwa was issued by Dar-ul-Qaza which read, "If one raped his son’s wife and it is proved through witnesses, or the rapist himself confesses it, Haram Musaharat will be proved. Means the wife of the son will become unlawful forever to him i.e. the son. The woman with whom father has copulated legally or had sexual intercourse illegally in both ways, the son can’t keep a physical relationship with her. The Holy Quran says: “Marry not the woman whom your father copulated".

When the petition was filed in the supreme court of India, the top court gave a landmark judgement. The court clarified,"Sharia courts are not courts because the Indian legal system doesn't recognise a parallel judicial system. But the court also said this doesn't mean Fatwa of Dar-Ul-Qaza is illegal, it is a part of the informal justice delivery system. Where the opinion is based on the person to accept the issued fatwa or reject it, i.e. a Qazi or Mufti has no right to impose the Fatwa on anyone.

AIMPLB idea of setting-up Sharia courts in each district?

The Indian rule of book was enforced in the year 1960, our preamble says We the people of India, having solemnly resolved to make India a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC… hereby adopt, enact and give to ourselves this Constitution". Which means we the people of India gave this rule of book to govern us irrespective of any religion, caste, sex etc.

The Article 141 states that law declared by the Supreme Court will be binding on all the courts within the territory of India. The AIMPLB is just a private society formed in 1972 which has no right to set up parallel judiciary inside a secular country. The power to establish courts is given only by the Constitution. The Muslim body claims that Sharia courts are mediation centres or arbitration centres, but that is just an illusionary argument. The setting up of such courts is just a mere approach towards islamisation and to mislead the Muslim community of India. This is a fraudulent attempt to make the populace believe that if the court orders aren't followed by the approached party their acts may be considered anti-islamic. This action may result in blasphemy and social boycott for the orders passed by the Indian Judiciary.

An example of spreading islamisation over constitution is this, In May a poster was set up by AIMIM, which read "Muslims, if you stop going to the courts and instead resolve your issues through an Ulema (Islamic cleric), then, no Government will have the courage to intervene in your Shariat.”

What about secularism then?

If Sharia courts will only preside on the civil matters and not criminal cases that to with the consent of both the parties. Then, what's the point of having these courts? Sharia laws cannot be mandatory, because the brutality of criminal laws in Islamic countries is well known. If it is indeed to be implemented the tenets of secularism in the Indian constitution can go for a toss.

And Despite the existence of Darul Qaza in few places in the country. Many women don't get satisfied with the judgement. If Muslim women had faith in Darul Quza's, they wouldn't have approached the regular courts in search of justice.

If there are no reform in the laws, the society will come to a blatant chaos. Sharia laws cannot be considered in a democracy. The male domination and evident patriarchy in some of the sharia laws, discriminatory practices to women like Triple Talaq and Halala say it all!

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