Sharia Courts in All Districts: Shia Muslim Board Denounces Concept, Demands Ban on AIMPLB
Muslim women in Mumbai protesting against criminalisation of Triple Talaq Bill earlier in the year | (Photo Credits: PTI)

New Delhi, July 9: The Shia Muslim Personal Law Board has denounced the proposal made by their Sunni counterpart - the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) - to set-up Sharia courts (based upon the Islamic law)  in all districts of India. The Shia body said such a concept is untenable and will not comply with the Indian Constitution.

Maulana Saif Abbas, a top Shia cleric, while speaking to reporters said there will be no legal validation to the verdicts delivered by the courts based on the Shariat law. "In case of a land dispute, how will they ensure the one who wins the suit gets the possession of the land. Will the Constitution recognise their decision?" he asked.

Senior Karnataka Congress leader Zameer Ahmed, however, welcomed the move saying the Sharia courts will serve as a remedy for Muslims dealing with religious and personal disputes. "There are several cases which we want to get resolved as per the Islamic law," he said.

BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, however, marked his opposition to the move calling it "seditious". He accused the AIMPLB of attempting to undermine the Indian courts. "All of them (board members) should be arrested under the National Security Act," he said.

The AIMPLB is expected to discuss the formation of Sharia courts in its next meeting. Zafaryab Jilani, a senior member of the Board and a petitioner in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi land dispute, said the Islamic courts will reduce the burden on the Indian judiciary.

"At present there are 40 such courts in Uttar Pradesh. We plan to open one such court in all districts of the country. The objective of Darul-Qaza (Sharia courts) is to resolve matters in light of Shariat laws instead of going to other courts," he said.

The functioning of one Sharia court will cost Rs 50,000, Jilani added, claiming that the AIMPLB will discuss the financial aspect in more detail in their next meeting.