Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan
We whole-heartedly welcome today’s judgment by the honorable Supreme Court against fatwas that trample upon rights of individuals and stating that diktats which are violative of rights of any individual are to be considered illegal and invalid. The honorable court has rightly censured any institution which issues diktats affecting the rights of the people as illegal. This far-sighted judgement will go a long way in enabling the poor and women amongst the muslim community to get speedy justice and at the same time their fundamental rights will not be subject to arbitrary interpretations and violation.
We also welcome the court’s refusal to issuing a blanket order prohibiting parallel courts run by different institutions as we believe they play an important role of dispensing speedy justice in our complex socio-cultural context. Many persons from poor background cannot access the courts and seek resolution to legal and social issues through shariat courts. However, such shariat courts need to recognize that they carry a huge burden to dispense justice and therefore need to be fair and just to all parties. They need to consider all sides while dealing with a family law matter and the verdict has to be in conjunction with principles of justice and fairness. The qazis and maulvis whose opinions are sought by persons from the community carry a special obligation to abide by the principles of natural justice and gender justice. We believe that a codified muslim personal law based on the Quranic principles of justice and equality can go a long way in furthering the cause of justice. There is need for the institutions such as Shariat courts to be made accountable. These institutions have to work in consonance with the existing legal justice mechanism as they serve the same purpose of justice. The draft of the proposed bill called Muslim Marriages and Divorce Act just released by us seeks to attain this balance. It calls for age of marriage to be 18 and 21 years for girl and boy respectively. It also makes oral talaq illegal and calls for abolition of polygamy. The spirit in which the honorable SC has given the present judgement gives us lot of hope for a codified muslim personal law in our country.