Dehradun, Aug 31: The Uttarakhand High Court has banned fatwas in the state after a panchayat had asked a rape victim and her family to leave the village. The action by the HC came in the wake of a panchayat in Haridwar asking a 15 year old rape victim and her family to leave the village.
Fatwa are religious edict issued by Islamic clerics that have no legal force but are influential. A fatwa "infringes upon the statutory rights, fundamental rights, dignity, status, honour and obligation of individuals, the court said while asking the police to ensure security to the victim and her family.
While ordering criminal proceedings against the panchayat, the court observed, "the panchayat, instead of sympathising with the rape victim, had the audacity to extern the family from the village. Fatwa is nothing but extra-constitutional adventurism, not permissible under the Constitution."
Advocate Vivek Shukla, who brought a newspaper report about the fatwa to the court's notice, was appointed amicus curiae.