Shariat Council can’t function like a judicial forum: High Court

Refusing to accept the contention of the Makka Masjid Shariat Council located on Anna Salai, Chennai, that it merely provides conciliation service to its members, the Madras High Court has made it clear that the council cannot be allowed to function like a judicial forum.

“We are unable to agree with the submission that the council merely provides conciliation service. If it is so, it would not have troubled us. What is out concern is the manner in which it is portrayed before the public, which does not give an impression as if it is only a conciliation proceeding and an endeavour to resolve family disputes amicably. The functioning of the council in this format is something which cannot be accepted,” the First Bench of Chief Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice M. Sundar said.

A public interest litigation (PIL) petition moved by Abdur Rahman alleges that hundreds of marriages are dissolved deceptively, and property issues settled as per the whims and fancies of religious leaders with the help of lawyers in a court like set-up on the premises of mosques, particularly Makka Masjid, Chennai.

Seeking action against such ‘kangaroo courts’, Mr. Rahman claimed that people heading such courts followed neither Shariat nor the regular law.

The petitioner, who holds an MBA from the United Kingdsom, submitted that the petition had been moved to safeguard the interests of a large number of innocent Muslims who were silently suffering because of the functioning of Makka Masjid Shariat Council and similar forums across the State.

Council’s stand

The council represented itself through a senior advocate and affirmed that it was not an adjudicating body and did not claim to be an alternative judicial system. It claimed to be a conciliation centre for Muslims to voluntarily settle their disputes.

Recording the submissions, the Bench referred to the records produced by the petitioner, including the summons issued by the council, orders passed, and the picture of the board placed at the masjid, which suggested the council functioned like a judicial forum.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 7:12:33 PM |

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