NEW DELHI: Issuing arbitrary fatwas may now land people in jail as the National Commission for Minorities has recommended registration of an FIR against the Maulvi who issued a fatwa for social boycott of Nida Khan, a victim of instant triple talaq .
Taking strict note of the July 16 fatwa issued against Bareily-based social activist Khan, the minority panel said that authorities should initiate criminal proceedings against persons responsible for issuance of such a fatwa.
"We want authorities to take action against anybody who issues fatwas of these kinds. We will keep a track of such fatwas and we will ask authorities to book people under appropriate sections of the Indian Penal Code for such acts," NCM chairman Syed Ghayorul Hasan Rizvi told the New Indian Express.
The fatwa which ordered social boycott of Khan reportedly said, "No medicines will be provided if she falls ill. If she dies, no one is allowed to offer 'namaz' on her 'janaja' (funeral procession). She cannot be buried in kabristan (graveyard) after her death." The fatwa was reportedly signed by Shahar Kaazi Maulana Aszad Raza Khan Kadri and Afzal Razvi of the Markazi Darul Ifta.
Taking suo motu cognisance of the threats issued to Khan, the NCM on Wednesday passed an order in the matter and asked the District Magistrate of Bareilly Virendra Kumar Singh to immediately provide security to Khan. The order, accessed by the Express, read, "In the light of threats given to Khan in the grab of fatwa, the National Commission for Minorities strongly recommends providing security to Miss Nida Khan at the earliest so that nothing untoward happens to her. Mere issuance of a fatwa cannot be a hindrance in grant of any fundamental rights guaranteed to a citizen under the Constitution of India and it does not forbid a person to practice his/her religion."
NCM, however, clarified that the panel would not go after every fatwa that is issued in the country.
"I want to make it clear that we will only issue directions against fatwas that violate fundamental rights of citizens."
The NCM's order came on day when Khan also got a relief from a district court in Bareily which declared the instant divorce given by her husband as invalid. Khan, who has been raising her voice against instant triple talaq matter and nikah halala, runs an NGO called Ala Hazrat Helping Society in Bareilly.
On August 22 last year, the Supreme Court had banned the age-old practice of instant triple talaq after hearing a batch of petitions against the archaic practice.