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HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014

'SC observation on fatwas, Shariat courts no bearing on Shariat Laws'

Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, July 07, 2014
First Published: 19:47 IST(7/7/2014) | Last Updated: 23:28 IST(7/7/2014)

Experts and religious authorities in the valley believe that the Supreme Court's (SC) observation on Sharia Courts and fatwas, decrees issued as per Islamic jurisprudence, will have no bearing on the Shariat Laws.

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"The SC observations have nothing to do with uniform civil code neither will it impact Shariat Laws implemented through civil courts under Shariat Act 1937 in India and Sharia Act 2006 in Jammu and Kashmir," said Sheikh Showkat Hussain, a law professor at Central University Kashmir.

Shariat Act 1937 and 2006 allow civil courts in India and Jammu and Kashmir to deal with the issues of matrimonial disputes, inheritance, dowry, marriages, adoption etc as per Shariat Laws.

"Shariat Act 1937 continues to form legal basis for implementation of Islamic jurisprudence in certain affairs of life in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh," said professor Hussain.

The Supreme Court on Monday said a Shariat court, issuing fatwa and order against a person who is not before it, has no sanction of law and has no legal status.

Hussain said the SC observation has no bearing on such courts as "Shariat Courts are not courts within the meaning of courts understood in Indian law and its decrees can be scrutinised in civil courts even otherwise".

"Sharia Courts are community forums for arbitration in the light of Sharia. These courts are approached as civil courts fail to adjudicate cases efficiently. These are like Lok Adalats and nothing else," he added.

Meanwhile, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who is head priest of Kashmir valley, said, "Those who follow the (Islamic) faith will follow the Sharia courts too. The decrees issues by such courts are not legal binding on anyone but a moral binding. There is no element of coercion in implementing these decrees."

Kashmir's grand mufti, Mufti Basheer-ud-Din, who claims to issue more than 50,000 fatwas annually, said, "Sharia Courts were established before the Supreme Court of India. Our decrees are based on Quran and Islamic jurisprudence. The SC observation will not impact functioning of Sharia Courts as Muslims will come to us for opinion in the light of Quran and Sunnah."

He said Muslims across the globe are subservient to fatwas issued on the basis of Islamic principles. "Muslims continue to follow Alims and muftis across the globe," he added.

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