CUTTACK: The Supreme Court judgment against Sharia courts issuing fatwas declaring them devoid of any legal sanction or legal status has been welcomed by sections in the community.
The Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), that is spearheading a nationwide movement for codification of Muslim personal law and according equal rights to Muslim women, said, the apex court has rightly censured any institution which issues ‘diktats’ affecting the rights of people.
The far-sighted verdict will go a long way in enabling the poor and women from the community to get speedy justice. At the same time, their fundamental rights will not be subject to arbitrary interpretations and violation, the organisation observed.
“We also welcome the court’s refusal to issue a blanket ban the parallel courts run by indifferent institutions as they play the vital role of dispensing speedy justice in our complex socio-cultural context. However, such Sharia courts need to recognise that they carry the responsibility of being fair and just to all parties. The Qazis and Maulvis, whose opinions are sought, carry a special obligation to abide by the principles of natural justice and gender justice,” State convener Farhat Amin said.
The verdict will aid efforts to make institutions such as Sharia courts accountable. The spirit in which the Supreme Court has given its judgment gives hope for a codified MPL in the country, she added.
The BMMA recently released a draft MPL in the form of a proposed Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act that calls for stipulating marriageable age to be 18 for girls and 21 for boys. It also makes oral talaq illegal and calls for abolition of polygamy.