NEW DELHI — Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind on Tuesday approached the Supreme Court against a verdict of the Uttarakhand High Court banning fatwa by religious bodies. JUH General Secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani has filed the petition seeking stay on the judgment passed by the High Court last week.
Through the petition filed by its counsels Shakil Ahmad Syed, Niaz Ahmad Farooqui, Uzmi Jameel Husain and Mohd. Parvez Dabas, Jamiat has argued that the verdict contradicts the Article 26 of the Constitution which gives rights to every section of the society to manage its own affairs in matters of religion. “Furthermore, it is contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court itself in Vishwa Lochan Madan case (supra) on the issuance of ‘fatwa’ by religious institutions on religious issue. Moreover, by not following the law laid down by the Apex Court, the High Court has also violated the provisions of Article 141 of the Constitution of India,” said Jamiat.
On Thursday (30th August), the High Court had ordered: “In Uttarakhand all religious bodies, the statutory panchayat, and any other groups of people are banned from issuing fatwas, since they infringe upon statutory rights, fundamental rights, dignity, status, honour and obligation of individuals.”
Jamiat pointed out that the Uttarakhand High Court has erred in its verdict by treating the ‘firman of a village Panchayat’ as ‘fatwa’ only on the basis of a news item appeared in a Hindi newspaper. The report said that a panchayat in a village issued ‘farman’ (diktat) to extern the family of a victim of heinous crime. “The Hon’ble High Court misconstrued the word ‘farman’ (Diktat) issued by panchayat as ‘fatwa’ (opinion of expert given on a religious matter),” said Jamiat.
“The Honourable judges must have noticed that a fatwa is not given by Panchayat but it is given by only authorized and well- qualified Mufti and its status is confined to mere advice or an opinion given in response to questions asked by an individual on a personal or religious matter. It is not binding on anyone.”
After filing the petition, Maulana Mahmood Madani said that his side was well-defined by the Constitution of India. “You cannot stop anyone from seeking religious guidance about his affairs,” he said.