SC stays High Court ban on ‘fatwas’

The Supreme Court on Friday stayed an Uttarakhand High Court order banning religious outfits from issuing ‘fatwas’, which are opinions given by qualified Islamic scholars to queries.

A Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta issued notices to the State government and the High Court on the petition filed by Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind.

The High Court on August 30 had barred fatwas on the ground that it infringed on the fundamental rights of individuals, including their dignity.

The order was based on a media report that a panchayat had issued ‘fatwa’ to banish a rape victim’s family in Roorkee’s Laksar.

In its plea before the apex court, Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind has said the High Court order banning issuance of ‘fatwa’ by religious outfits and bodies was “illegal and unsustainable” and the legality of ‘fatwa’ had already been adjudicated by the top court in 2014.

It has said that “only authorised and well-qualified person is competent to issue ‘fatwa’ i.e. Darul Ifta (fatwa council) or Muftis are jurists qualified to give authoritative opinions as per Shariat law known as ‘fatwas.’”

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