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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Muslim Panel for ‘Shariat’ court in every district

Calcutta News.Net
Tuesday 6th February, 2007 (IANS)

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has decided to set up ‘Shariat’ courts in every district of the country, a board member said Tuesday.

‘The decision came in the wake of recommendations of the Maulana Atiq Ahmed Bastwi committee, set up by the Board a few months back, to look into the need of quick disposal of personal law related disputes of Muslims,’ AIMPLB legal adviser and member Zafaryab Jilani told IANS.

Jilani said: ‘The idea was to facilitate common Muslim masses to get their personal law related issues sorted out without having to bear the high cost of regular courts and their prolonged procedures.’

Asked if these Shariat courts would mean the creation of a parallel judicial system, Jilani pointed out: ‘Well, Shariat courts were already in existence in many parts the country and many Muslims preferred to take their personal litigations to these

courts. However, so far there was no organised system of setting up such courts.’

He added: ‘The Muslim Personal Law Board will now issue proper guidelines for the setting up of such Shariat courts at the district level to ensure that these are not only constituted under a uniform framework but those entrusted with the task of dispensing justice are appropriately qualified people.’

According to Jilani, ‘the board had always been of the view that Muslims should try and get their personal law issues resolved at the Shariat’ courts as far as possible’.

The board proposes to appoint a Qazi (judge) at the district level to head each court. ‘Modalities for setting up the necessary logistics and related issues like remuneration for the Qazi are still being worked out,’ said Jilani.

‘Since such courts were already in place in certain places, we are gathering details about their functioning,’ he added.

And once the district level Shariat courts are set up, the board proposes to create similar infrastructure at lower levels to facilitate dispensation of justice at the doorsteps of the common Muslims.

Maulana Khalid Rasheed, another Board member, who heads Lucknow’s oldest Islamic seminary Firangi Mahal, was quite enthused about the decision. ‘I am sure these courts would also help in reducing the burden of conventional courts,’ he said.

Asked what mechanism would be adopted to make the verdict of these courts a binding on the parties involved, he said: ‘Well, those who are true followers of Islam would voluntarily abide by the decision of these Islamic courts.’

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