SHOCKING: BJP ruled state sets up Sharia court

A Darul Qaza or Sharia court was inaugurated in Mira Road on Saturday. The court, set up by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), is the second one in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).

The first one was set up in 2013 and functions at Anjuman-i-Islam, near Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus.

A Sharia court settles civil and marital disputes in the Muslim community, where qazis (judges) appointed by AIMPLB hear disputes. Similar courts exist in Malegaon, Hyderabad and Patna.

“While we had one court in town, we realised that a large section of the population in the western area found it difficult to access it. So we decided to have a branch in Mira Road,” said Dr Azimuddin, president, Darul Qaza Foundation, Mira-Bhayandar.

He added the court will help people resolve disputes within the community rather than approaching the court of law.

“The judiciary is overburdened with various issues. When an individual moves court with a personal matter, which usually includes marriage, divorce and inheritance, they have to wait for years before an order is passed. In such situations, a Sharia court can help resolve the issue amicably. In case, the person doesn’t abide by the order given by the qazi, he/she can approach the judiciary where the Sharia court order can used to take the case further,” Azimuddin said.

When a person approaches Sharia court with a dispute, both the parties are required to present their sides in the court. But, if one of them decides to move civil court, the case needs to be withdrawn for the Sharia court.

Sujoy Kantawala, senior lawyer at Bombay High Court, said Sharia courts act as internal customary courts (courts that formerly exercise jurisdiction over the transfer, surrender and admittance) for personal issues, but hold no legal standing.

“Sharia courts are not illegal, but their judgement is not accepted by the judiciary. Moreover, the facts presented by these courts can be produced in a civil or matrimonial court. If a person wants to resolve personal dispute, they can approach such courts. But, to get divorced, one has to go abide by the law,” said Kantawala.