Chennai: The Madras High Court Wednesday issued notice to the Tamil Nadu government on a petition by an NRI, who alleged that a 'Shariat council' was functioning like a regular court, passing divorce orders and summoning parties related to disputes, contravening a Supreme Court order.
The First Bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice R Mahadevan before which the PIL filed by Abdul Rahman from the UK came up, issued notices to the Home Secretary, DGP and Chennai Commissioner of Police.
Petitioner's counsel submitted that the PIL had been filed "to safeguard the interests of a large number of innocent Muslims" who are silently suffering because of the functioning of 'Makkah Masjid Shariat Council' and similar forums across the state.
Claiming that hundreds of Muslim families have been affected due to such a system, the petitioner said the council has created an impression among Muslims that it had been functioning as per Sharia law and all its orders and judgements were religiously binding on Muslims.
The council functions like a court and presiding officers wear robes like judges, but of different colour, the petitioner claimed.
He said he too had become a victim once as he had approached council to reunite with his wife. But he was forced him to sign a letter of talaq and the divorce was pronounced.
Though the Supreme Court has declared such entities as illegal, the number of disputes entertained by the council had exceeded a few hundred every year, as was evident from the case number given om his petition, the PIL said.
As he did not get relief from the council, he moved a family court here for an appropriate remedy, he said.
The petitioner sought a direction to authorities to stop the functioning of the council and all other similar organisations in Tamil Nadu as dispute adjudicating bodies.