Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Shariat laws now applicable in Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir Assembly tonight passed a bill bringing the country's only Muslim-majority state in the ambit of Shariat laws.

Moved as a private members's bill by Opposition leader Abdul Rahim Rather in the Assembly, the House passed the legislation by voice vote without any dissent.

With the Congress-PDP led government supporting the bill, the Minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Taj Mohideen said "government does not oppose it and the Law Department has not raised any objection to it".

Mulsims in the state have so far been governed by customary laws. Although some marriages in parts of Kashmir were covered under Shariat laws, Jammu and Kashmir had no legal frame-work for Shariat to be applicable.

Rather said Shariat laws will not be applicable so far as criminal legislation is concerned. He said the criminal laws will be governed by Indian Penal Code and Ranbir Penal Code.

Former Deputy Chief Minister and MLA Muzaffar Hussain Baigh said that application of Shariat laws should be subject to review by a select committee as it could create problems for those who have married non-Muslims.

This would also cause problem for judiciary about the fate of thousands of pending cases in the courts, he said adding this would give a licence to Muslims to marry four to five times in contravention to other laws.

The Bill was discussed by a select committee before its passage in the House.

The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Bill will deal with all questions regarding inter-state succession, special property of female, including personal property inherited or obtained under contract or gift or any other provision of personal law, marriage, dissolution of marriage, including talaq, trusts and trust properties.

The bill, which was introduced by Rather in the House on 30th of September 2005, was then sent to Select Committee on March 29, 2006 on a motion moved by Mangat Ram Sharma.

Speaker Tara Chand set up a 9-member select committee headed by the then deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baigh on May 23, 2006.

The committee made certain amendments by dropping words "maintenance" and "wakaf" in the bill as these are governed by the code of CrPC and Jammu and Kashmir specified Wakafs and specified Wakaf Properties (management and regulation) Act 2004 respectively.

Excerpts from "Living Under the Shadow of Article 370"


J & K already had sufficient autonomy under Article 370 to run roughshod over minority rights and keep them segregated from the rest of India six decades after Partition. Article 370 is a special clause in Indian Constitution, a prize that was extracted out of India in 1950 by Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah for throwing his lot with India, after lengthy negotiations with Indian leaders. Article 370 made Jammu and Kashmir a country within a country, with its own flag, emblem, constitution and Sadr-i-Riyasat (Prime Minister). The architect of the Indian Constitution, Dr. Ambedkar, opposed granting Article 370 but it was on India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's insistence and personal guarantee that it was granted to the state. Thus the state's residents lived under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights, as compared to other Indians.

That Article 370 was a temporary arrangement is evident from its wording, which allows its abrogation by the President of India in consultation with the now long-defunct Constituent Assembly. The trouble began even before as Article 370 was promulgated, and the omens that were seen in 1951 presaged the damage half a century of Article 370 would do. The Kashmiri Muslim-dominated National Conference opposed the extension of India’s citizenship laws, fundamental rights and related legal rights to the state. They also began to question the finality of the accession of the state to India.

Hindus in Jammu rose up in protest in a movement known as the Praja Parishad agitation. The Praja Parishad movement strongly opposed any moves towards independence of the state. Its slogan was 'Ek Vidhan, Ek Nishan, Ek Pradhan' (One Constitution, One flag, and One President).

The National Conference led by Sheikh Abdullah used the leeway granted to it by India to grab all the seats of the Constituent Assembly, squeezing out representatives of Jammu and Ladakh, and those of Kashmiri Hindus and Sikhs.

Article 370 was designed to maintain the separate character of valley Muslims at the expense of all other groups in the state, and at the expense of the stability and future of the subcontinent.

P.S. And now we have SHARIA in Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. Thanks to UPA!


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