Shariat laws now applicable in Jammu and Kashmir

Shariat laws now applicable in Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu, Feb 9 (PTI) 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.

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