The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Muslim board junks suggestion

Lucknow, July 23: The All India Muslim Personal Law Board has rejected the Supreme Court’s suggestion for a legislation to implement the common civil code. The board said it hoped the Centre would not take steps to enact such a law, as it has ignored similar observations from the apex court in the past.

“The suggestion is totally unacceptable and cannot be imposed in a country where there is a diversity of culture and religion. Any such move will be an infringement of religious rights of the Muslims,” Maulana Rabey Nadwi, the board’s president, said.

Leading Shia cleric and vice-president of the board Maulana Kalbe-Sadiq concurred. “We hope the common civil code will not be imposed on us because on earlier two occasions, when similar suggestions were made, the then government had refused” to impose it on members of the minority community, he said.

A spokesman of the board pointed out that the H.D. Deve Gowda government had submitted an affidavit in the apex court saying it could not impose the code on Muslims.

“We hope and believe that the present government will not go against the stand taken by previous governments. In my opinion, any such move will not promote national integration but will translate itself to the contrary,” Kasim Rasul Illiyas, convener of the board’s Babri panel, said.

Taking a stronger line, the president of the All India Muslim Forum, M.K. Sherwani, demanded that the government should call an all-party meet to discuss the issue and hold a national debate.

“Though I myself do not like some of the interpretations of the Shariat, such as the practice of triple talaaq, Muslims would not accept any law, which goes contrary to the Shariat,” he said.

Law board member and counsel for the Sunni Central Waqf Board Zafaryab Jilani said the issue was cleared in 1995 itself when an apex court bench held that it was out of the court’s purview to give instructions to Parliament for making any legislation on the subject.

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