Fatwas are illegal, unconstitutional: Uttarakhand HC

Nainital: The Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday declared Fatwas as illegal and unconstitutional in the state.

The division bench comprising of Acting Chief Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Sharad Kumar Sharma was hearing a case in which the village panchayath had illegally banished rape victim family, PTI reported.

The court held that fatwa was unconstitutional and illegal, directing all religious institutions including statutory panchayaths and other radical outfits, are henceforth, banned from issuing Fatwas since it infringes upon the statutory rights, fundamental rights, dignity, status, honour and obligation of individuals.

The court’s decision comes after it took cognizance of a newspaper report that the panchayath had issued a fatwa banning the rape victim family in Laksar.

The court said instead of sympathizing with the victim and family the village panchayath had the audacity to banish the family from the village.

“Fatwa is nothing but extra constitutional adventurism, not permissible under the Constitution. The constitution of Panchayats is provided under Article 243 of the Constitution of India. These are created under the Panchayati Raj Act.

“The panchayats are only required to discharge the duties and functions enshrined under the law. Issuing fatwas is not part of their statutory duties and functions. The fatwas cause immense agony and devastation to the victim, even if the same has been issued by local panchayat like ‘Khap Panchayat’.

The court also ordered the senior superintendent of police (SSP) in Haridwar to locate the familty who had reveived the direction sfrom the village Panchayath.