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Constitution does not recognise Islamic courts: Bharadwaj

Source: PTI
August 17, 2005 15:20 IST
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A day after the Supreme Court sought the central government's response to a petition pointing out a parallel Islamic judiciary for handling "Imrana" type cases, Law Minister H R Bharadwaj declared on Wednesday that the Constitution recognised only one judiciary, headed by the Chief Justice of India and noone else.

"Constitution does not recognise any of these Islamic courts. There is no question of separate Islamic courts," he said, addressing a press conference at his office in New Delhi.

SC serves notice to Centre, AIMPLB

"Under the Constitution, there is only one Judiciary - the lower courts, the high courts and the Supreme Court and everyone is bound to obey their rulings," he said.

Alarmed by the petition, the SC had on Tuesday issued notices to the Centre, All India Muslim Personal Law Board and Islamic seminary Darul Uloom. The Court had also issued notices to Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Delhi, where, according to the petition, Islamic courts have been set up, posing a challenge to the judicial system.

Citing the fatwa issued by the Deoband-based seminary Darul-Uloom in the Imrana rape case and the stand of AIMPLB, the petitioner said the criminal law was not allowed to have its natural run as the entire issue was hijacked by the clerics.

On fatwas, the Law Minister said it was an internal matter of the community.

"If anything wrong was being done under the shariat law, the community should address it. They should decide whether they would be governed by fatwas or not," he added.

Brouhaha over a fatwa

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