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muslim court in india

June 2, 2013

Mumbai: In Mumbai, a Muslim group has set up a Shariah court to settle civil and marital disputes among Muslim families.
Unlike India’s mainstream court system, justice in the court is said to be quick and less expensive.
For a long time, Mumbai’s Muslim community has wanted to have a Muslim Arbitration Tribunal to resolve disputes among Muslim families.
Shariah courts already function at many Indian regions, such as Hyderabad, Patna and Malegaon.

Although they are barred from passing judgement on criminal cases, the judges, also known as Qazis, listen to the community’s various disputes and deliver their judgements. They are appointed by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB).
Maulana Wali Rahmani, a senior Muslim cleric and secretary at AIMPLB, said: “This court will function to settle mainly family disputes among Muslim families pertaining to marriage, divorce and inheritance on the basis of Shariah law.”
Based on the Muslim personal law, the Shariah court resolves family and even property disputes, if a settlement can indeed be arrived at according to Shariah law.
It does not aim to compete with the civil courts but on the contrary will lessen the burden of these courts which have a long back-log of cases.
Yusuf Muchulla, a senior advocate and head of AIMPLB’s legal cell, said:

“You see, it’s a concept of having a domestic tribunal. It is like an alternative dispute resolution mechanism which is being encouraged now. There has been a congestion of cases in local courts. So this is to encourage people to come and solve their cases according to Muslim law.”
Some erudite Muslims however, have questioned the value of Shariah court verdicts.
Dr Farrukh Waris, principal of the Burhani College of Commerce & Arts, feels that despite being the word of law for Muslims, Shariah courts don’t punish an individual if its judgement is disobeyed.
This, she believes, might reduce the courts’ relevance for people who come to seek justice.

Dr Farrukh added: “The bulk of the community will benefit in a very big way but what will be the binding on the people? We will reach there, hear our part of it. If it pleases us, I accept it, if it doesn’t please me, then I am not accepting it. In a condition where I am not accepting, what is the control on me to be able to toe the line that the judgement that has been given to me is accepted and not trivialize the judgement of the Shariah court?”
The court began operating at the end of last month and people can now file their complaints or seek justice according to the Muslim law. And as family disputes top the list of cases registered in the local courts, this alternative tribunal is perfectly placed to potentially lessen the heavy judicial burden, provided of course, that its verdicts are fully honoured.
(Courtesy: Channel NewsAsia)

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