Asserting that fatwas were only opinions that are not binding on any person, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board petitioned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday against a writ petition moved in the Supreme Court for prohibiting issuance of the religious edicts.
A high-level delegation of the board, alleging that the petition was aimed at 'causing disaffection among Muslims against the United Progressive Alliance government', called on the prime minister. It also urged him to ensure that 'the law officers of the Union government make thorough scholastic representations before the apex court against the plea for disbanding Dar-ul-Quazas'.
'Fatwa means opinion. Such opinions are expressed by Islamic scholars when called upon to do so on any religio-socio-cultural issues and the opinion is given as per the shariat (religious law). Opinions are not binding on any person, including the one who has sought it,' the board said in a presentation.
'Prohibiting expression of opinions by Islamic scholars on issues pertaining to religious, social, cultural issues of the Muslims will directly hit the fundamental freedom of expression guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution,' the presentation said.
With regard to Dar-ul Qaza (place of justice), it said they have been in existence for several centuries and attended to disputes/problems of Muslims affecting their personal law. "It cannot be said to be a parallel court of law," the representation said.
The delegation, led by board president Moulana Syed Rabey Husni Nadvi included, among others, MPs Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi and Asaduddin Owaisi.