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SC glare on Shariat courts

New Delhi, Nov. 11: The Supreme Court has posted on November 19 the final hearing on a petition seeking ban on Shariat courts on the ground that they are “unconstitutional”.

The PIL, filed by advocate Vishwa Lochan Madan, has said the practice of pronouncing “fatwa” should be disallowed.

According to the petitioner, over 50 Shariat courts function in various districts. He also said that some organisations had set up appellate tribunals that supervise the Shariat courts in the districts.

The matter has come up again after six years. In 2007, the apex court had issued notice to the Union government that had said Shariat courts and its appellate tribunals did not amount to a parallel judicial system.

The Centre had said the Shariat court was an essential and integral part of the Muslim religion and it was protected under the Fundamental Right to Religion guaranteed under Articles 25, 26 and 29 of the Constitution.

The government had also said the practice of issuing “fatwa” was part of the Fundamental Right to freedom of speech guaranteed under Article 19.

The Centre’s stand was supported by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and the Dar-ul-Uloom, Deoband.