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Saturday, June 3, 2023

NCPCR calls fatwas on Darul Uloom Deoband’s website unconstitutional

Taking cognisance of a complaint, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has raised objections to certain fatwas issued by Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband on its website, terming them “misleading, unlawful and harmful for the children”.

“In one of the fatwas, Darul Uloom Deoband states that adopting a child is not unlawful but merely by adopting a child, the ruling of real child shall not be applicable on him, rather it shall be necessary to observe Shariah Purdah from him after he is mature. The adopted child shall get no share in the property and that the child shall not be a heir in any case,” the commission in a letter to the District Magistrate, Saharanpur on Saturday.

The commission contended that such fatwas are not only misleading to the law of the land but are also illegal in nature.

“The Constitution of India provides for fundamental rights of children including right to education and right to equality,” it added.

The NCPCR would like to state that publishing such statements as advice, contrary to the rights of children on a website, having open access and available in the public domain, are not only misleading and unlawful but also harmful for the children.

“Therefore, it is requested that the website of this organisation may be thoroughly examined, investigated and any such content should be immediately removed,” it stated.

Further, access to such websites may be prevented until the removal of such content for avoiding the spread and recurrence of “unlawful statements and consequently preventing incidents of violence, abuse, neglect, harassment, discrimination against children”, it said.

The Commission has requested the District Magistrate that an action taken report may be submitted within 10 days.

In response, a Muslim group on Sunday said that the NCPCR’s letter “is yet another attempt at targetting Madrasas and their education by cherry-picking some fatwas and sensationalising them”.

The Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) said: “Fatwas are nothing but personal views of religious scholars on various matters pertaining to personal and social life.”

In fact, on a given issue, the scholars often have differing opinions and none of them carry any legal sanctity or institutional approval. People are completely free to act according to their own understanding of the religion, it said in a statement.

“It is a settled position of law in India that issues of inheritance, marriage, divorce and other personal matters including adoption are covered by the respective customary laws of different communities and religions.

“The officials at NCPCR must no doubt be aware about this settled position of Indian law, which is protected by the Constitution. Their targetting of the well known Muslim seminary for discussing their position on adoption is a shallow and shameless attempt to defame not just the institution but the entire Muslim community by association,” the SIO said.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline.)

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