Women’s group to provide legal aid with special Shariah court

Mumbai’s first Shariah courts for women, run by women, will start this week. The court at Kherwadi in Bandra, set up by the women’s rights group Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), will be called ‘Auraton ki Shariah Adalat’ (women's Shariah court).

For the first time, the BMMA, which has been providing legal aid to women over the last few years, will officially provide legal recourse as a Shariah court. The decision to set up such courts was taken at a meeting in Ahmedabad last Saturday, and the group also plans to take the codified law to the Parliament once it is drafted.

Apart from Mumbai, BMMA plans to start Shariah courts in Ahmedabad, Pune and Dindigul in Tamil Nadu.

“The existing Shariah courts are patriarchal and do not give justice to women in matters of oral divorce and other marital issues,” said Noorjehan Safia Niaz, co-founder of BMMA. “We felt there was a need for a court that will give justice to women based on Quranic injunctions.

The draft of the codified law should be ready by the end of Ramzan, and it will guide us in legal matters,” she said.

The organisation has received support from Mufti Syed Abdur Rahman Milli, state convenor of the All India Milli Council, who will oversee the cases at the court

However, members of the Muslim Personal Law Board, the largest network of Shariah courts in the country, said they had not received any grievances from women. “No grievances have been brought to us so far. The entire purpose of our courts is to give justice to women,” said Yusuf Muchhala, convenor of the Board's legal cell.


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