Fatwas must not violate laws
The Supreme Court on Sunday released the full-judgment in a case regarding fatwa, in which it declared that a fatwa may only be issued by “properly educated persons” on “religious matters” as long as it doesn't violate the existing laws of the land. It further stated that fatwa cannot be coercive, nor can it violate or affect the rights of reputation or dignity of any person.
The full-judgment has come 44 months into the announcement of a short verdict on it, after the apex court endorsed in part two separate appeals filed against the two HC verdicts that had declared all kinds of fatwa and punishment in its name illegal. Although we feel that the full judgment should have been released much earlier, we welcome that the SC has ruled against the imposition of extra-judicial penalties, even if a shalish finds that there was an “offence.”
Furthermore, we commend the court's decision that “no punishment, including physical violence and/or mental torture in any form, can be imposed or inflicted on anybody in pursuance of fatwa” and that undue influence in any form is “forbidden”.
We hope this judgment, which must be implemented without further ado, will go a long way in reducing violence against women inflicted and/or aggravated by village arbitrations.
We also applaud the lawyers and human rights advocates who have fought a protracted legal battle to safeguard that women's fundamental rights are not violated by arbitrary fatwas imposed by prejudiced and patriarchal elders.