Muslim Personal Law Board Plans to Open Sharia Courts in All Districts; This Isn't Islamic Republic of India, Says BJP
People of Muslim Community Praying (Photo Credits: Getty Images)

New Delhi, July 8: The All India Muslim Personal Law Board or AIMPLB, the highest decision making body on Muslim affairs, is planning to open Sharia courts, also known as Darul-Qaza, in all districts of the country. The motive behind the move is to resolve issued especially matrimonial disputes in line with Islamic laws.

"At present there are 40 such courts in Uttar Pradesh. We plan to open one such court in every districts of the country. The objective of Darul-Qaza is to resolve matters in light of Sharia laws instead of going to other courts," Zafaryab Jilani, a senior member of AIMPLB, told news agency PTI.

"Muslim Personal Law Board started it in India in 1993. This is nothing new. Central government has no relation with it (Sharia court). The Supreme Court had also allowed it to continue while observing that it's not a parallel court," Jilani told another news agency. "We don't call it shariat court. It's Darul Qaza, where Quazi solves matrimonial disputes or suggests ways for separations if issues aren't solved," he added.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, expressed strong objection to the proposal for setting up Sharia courts. "You can discuss religious matters but court binds this nation. There is no place for Sharia court, be it district or village or city. Courts will work in accordance with law. This isn't Islamic Republic of India," BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi said.

Speaking on the issue, Baldev Singh Aulakh, Minister of State (MoS) for minority welfare in the Uttar Pradesh government, said the state has nothing to do with it. "Our party and our government has a clear opinion regarding empowerment of Muslim women. We don't have to do anything with personal courts being set up for them anywhere," Aulakh said.

Expressing his view, P P Chaudhary, the Minister of State (MoS) for Law and Justice in the central government, said that any such court must act in accordance with the Constitution. "As far as opening of court is concerned, it can only be in accordance with law and body opening it should be competent under law. Any verdict given by such courts is against Constitution and so isn't enforceable," the union minister said.

The proposal for setting up Sharia courts in all districts of the country will come up for discussion at a meeting of the Muslim Law Board in Delhi on July 15.