The Supreme Court in India issued a ruling on Monday that says Islamic courts have no legal authority in the country, according to The Associate Press. The court said Muslims cannot be legally subject to parallel religious authority.
Judge C. K. Prasad said that people can abide by Shariah court rulings if they choose, but they cannot be legally forced to abide by the rulings.
“No religion is allowed to curb anyone’s fundamental rights,” he told the court when issuing the decision of a two-judge bench. He also said that Indian law does not recognize Shariah court rulings.
The court’s ruling can in response to a petition filed back in 2005 by a lawyer who claimed the Shariah courts should be disbanded for operating a parallel judicial system in a country that has 150 million Muslims in its population of more than 1.2 billion people.
The person who filed that petition was Vishwa Lochan Madan.
Kamal Farooqi belongs to the All India Muslim Personal Law Board. Farooqi said, “This is a malicious propaganda which is going on against religious beliefs. We are for Shariah courts, and we are spreading it all over the country.”
The petition filed by Madan cited a case in which a Muslim woman was raped by her father-in-law. A Shariah court ruled that she have her marriage annulled and that she should live with her father-in-law.