September 22, 2016

India: Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against ‘kangaroo courts’ in mosques

The Hindu -

PIL against ‘kangaroo courts’ in mosques

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 inside mosques, alleges a 29-year-old man who was allegedly duped by one such court.
According to Abdur Rahman, who has approached the Madras High Court seeking action against such kangaroo courts, people heading them neither followed shariat nor regular law.
Admitting the Public Interest Litigation petition, the First Bench of Chief Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice R. Mahadevan ordered notices to the State government, the DGP, and the Commissioner of Police, Chennai.
The petitioner, who holds an MBA degree from the U.K., submitted that the petition has been moved to safeguard the interests of a large number of Muslims who were silently suffering because of the functioning of the Makka Masjid Shariat Council and similar other forums. “By its name and by various publicity methods, the council has created an impression that it had been functioning in accordance with shariat laws and all its orders were religiously and legally binding upon them,” Mr. Rahaman said. Claiming that the council had a similar set-up, he added, “The council has an elevated dais for the presiding officer just as in courts and the presiding officer wears robes like judges, but in different colour.”
Religious injunction
It would even send summons on complaints received from Muslims facing family disputes. Under the name of religious injunction, the parties are forced to appear before it, he added.
In fact, the petitioner himself once approached such a council believing that it was an authentic forum with a plea to be reunited with his wife. But the council forced him to sign a letter stating that he was willing for a divorce, he alleged.
Pointing out that the government authorities were not initiating appropriate action on a representation made by him in this regard, the petitioner approached the High Court for action.
Alleges that forums like Makka Masjid Shariat Council are functioning like regular courts
Source URL: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/article9133891.ece