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Breaking NewsSupreme Court agrees to consider plea seeking pronouncement ‘Sharia won’t apply to...

Supreme Court agrees to consider plea seeking pronouncement ‘Sharia won’t apply to ex-Muslims’

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Northlines Newsdesk

Supreme Court of today agreed to consider a plea that, in the matter succession, the Sharia law won't apply to ex-Muslims

In questions of succession, will an ex-Muslim be subject to the secular laws of the nation or to the Muslim personal law, the Shariat Act of 1937? On Monday, a Keralite woman who filed the writ petition posing the question was granted notice by the Supreme Court, which decided to take the “important point” into consideration.

The notification was issued in response to a petition submitted by Safiya P. M. by a three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud. In her plea, Safiya, the general secretary of a Kerala-based group of ex-Muslims, requested a “statement that individuals who choose not to be subject to the Muslim Personal Law ought to have the option of being subject to the secular law of the nation, specifically the Indian Succession Act, 1925, in both intestate and testamentary succession scenarios.”

The Bench also requested the Attorney General of India to nominate a law officer to assist the Court bearing in mind the importance of the issues raised in the petition.

At first, the bench expressed reluctance to consider it, stating that the maker of the will would not be subject to the Act as long as they did not declare anything in accordance with Section 3 of The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937.

“You're not required to look for that statement. Because the Shariat Act's Section 3 states that you will not be subject to the personal law's rules on wills, adoptions, and legacies until you make a declaration. Accordingly, they are not subject to personal law if neither you nor your father file a declaration,” the CJI stated.

But later, the bench, which also included Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, concurred with Advocate Prashant Padmanabhan, Safiya's attorney after he raised some important points in the matter. “There is a problem. Because if you don't have a declaration, there is still a void because the secular law doesn't apply. When we started reading it, we said what kind of a petition is this. Now that you have got into it…it's an important point. We will issue a notice,” said CJI D Y Chandrachud.

The argument stated that the right to believe or not believe must be included in the basic right to religion guaranteed by Article 25 of the Indian Constitution, in accordance with the Supreme Court's Sabarimala ruling. It stated, “The person who leaves her faith should not incur any disability or be disqualified in matters of inheritance or other significant civil rights in order for that Right to have meaning.”

The petitioner, who is a born Muslim woman with a non-practicing Muslim father and has not formally left the religion, was described as having a unique challenge in defending her priceless civil rights. Safiya “wishes to get a declaration that she shall not be governed by Muslim Personal Law for any of the matters listed in section 2 or 3 of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937,” but neither the Act nor the Rules contain a provision that would allow her to obtain such a certificate, according to the statement. It is argued that judicial interpretation can effectively fill this glaring gap in the statute.

“Even if the petitioner receives an official no-religion, no-caste certificate from any authority, she will not be subject to the country's secular laws, namely the Indian Succession Act, 1925. Consequently, the petitioner's priceless fundamental rights under Article 25 are rendered meaningless by the lack of such a protection from the State,” the statement continued.

Northlines
Northlines
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