A Muslim women’s group on Tuesday demanded a complete ban on Sharia (religious) courts, saying they can’t be allowed to function as a parallel judiciary in the name of mediation, conciliation, speedy and less expensive justice.
In an affidavit, the Muslim Women’s Quest for Equality, which has petitioned the Supreme Court against arbitrary triple talaq, also demanded that organisations such as the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA)“should be abolished to save the country and Indian Muslims from the clamp of fundamentalists/ activists having the ideology similar to Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and his organisation Jamat-ud-dawa (JuD).”
“Some people and NGOs are misusing the freedom given by the constitution. They want to keep Muslim education in Muslim extremist’s hands, entirely free from the government control,” the affidavit said.
The affidavit comes days after AIMPLB defended the practice of triple talaq, saying it’s better to divorce a woman than kill her. The government told the Supreme Court that it would file its response to the petitions against triple talaq in four weeks.
The AIMPLB, a non-governmental institution that oversees Muslim personal law, also said the Muslim law gave husbands the power to divorce as they were emotionally more stable.
“Shariah grants the right to divorce because men have greater power of decision making. They are more likely to control emotions and not take a hasty decision,” the board said in an affidavit.
Triple talaq, under which a Muslim man can repeat the word talaq thrice to divorce his wife, violated women’s right to equality, several women have told the Supreme Court.
The affidavit of Muslim Women’s Quest for Equality filed through advocate Farha Faiz said: “There should be a complete change in madarsas education system and a Muslim university under government supervision is the urgent need to impart religious as well as worldly education to the Muslims.”
It accused Muslim clerics of creating a gulf between country and Muslims and brainwashing Muslims who always faced a dilemma “whether the country is above or the religion”.
The affidavit blamed vote bank politics, especially by Congress governments, for the plight of Muslims. Accusing Congress governments of dumping people in favour of clerics or fundamentalists, it said they never encouraged Muslims to integrate.
India has separate sets of personal laws for each religion governing marriage, divorce, succession, adoption and maintenance. While Hindu law overhaul began in the 1950s and continues, activists have long argued that Muslim personal law, which has remained mostly unchanged, is tilted against women. To end the confusion over personal laws, the court has been advocating a uniform civil code, a political hot potato. The AIMPLB said constitutional provision on uniform civil code was not enforceable.