'Won't interfere in fatwas'

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said courts cannot interfere with fatwas issued by Muslim clerics unless the religious dictates violate someone’s rights.

A bench presided over by Justice C K Prasad said it was a matter of choice for people to accept fatwas.

 The apex court made the observation while reserving its verdict on a public interest litigation against fatwas.

During the hearing, the court said running of institutions like Darul Qaza and Darul Iftaa was a religious issue, and that courts should interfere only when someone's rights are violated by their decision. 

“We can protect people who are subjected to suffering due to this. When a pujari gives a date of Dussehra, he cannot force someone to celebrate the festival on that day. If somebody forces them on you, then can we protect you,” said the bench.

A PIL filed by Delhi-based advocate Vishwa Lochan Madan contended that fatwas issued by clerics were unconstitutional.

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