24 Dec 2020 4:31 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court has recently held that there cannot be any legality or validity attached to a fatwa, especially in respect of ownership of immovable property, and such a declaration would not be binding on a third party.A single judge bench of Justice Pratibha M. Singh answered the issue in an appeal against a lower court order which had dismissed an application pertaining to ownership of...
The Delhi High Court has recently held that there cannot be any legality or validity attached to a fatwa, especially in respect of ownership of immovable property, and such a declaration would not be binding on a third party.
A single judge bench of Justice Pratibha M. Singh answered the issue in an appeal against a lower court order which had dismissed an application pertaining to ownership of a property in Delhi's Daryaganj area.
Answering thequestion of law viz. whether rights in an immovable property can be legally and validly derived, on the basis of a fatwa issued by a maulvi and it's binding nature on a third party in the negative, the Court held, while relying on the Supreme Court's verdict in Vishwa Lochan Madan v. UOI & Others, that fatwa does not satisfy the requirements of a legally binding document and that they do not trace their origin to validly made law.
Referring to the apex court judgement, Justice Singh said a perusal of the SC verdict "makes it abundantly clear that a fatwa cannot be imposed on a third party".
Matrix of Events:
A suit for possession and recovery of damages was filed by Petitioners in the lower court and their case was that they are the owners of the suit property, being property in Daryaganj and that they traced back their title to one Mst. Musharraf Begum through six registered sale deeds and a fatwa.
The plea was opposed by the defendant, a tenant of the property, who claimed that the original owner, a lady, had made a declaration that after her death the tenants/occupants would become owners of the property.
The tenant also claimed that he was living there for 32 years without paying rent and that no claims on the property had been raised since 1971. Therefore, he was the owner of the property by way of adverse possession.
What the Court held:
Court, while relying on the Supreme Court's verdict of 2014 held that a fatwa can be completely ignored and no one needs to challenge the same before any Court of law.
"Imposition of a fatwa would itself be illegal and that. The effect of this judgment on the alleged fatwa, which is the basis of the Plaintiffs claim to ownership, would therefore have to be adjudicated by the Trial Court." - Delhi HC
Further, it held that recognizing such rights based on a fatwa which has not been examined or sanctioned by a Court of law would be contrary to the Constitutional scheme. "While a fatwa can be the basis of an amicable settlement of disputes between parties who submit to such a settlement process, binding the same on a third party would be contrary to law," bench said.
It said that a court of law would have to adjudicate the issue after considering the documents and evidence before it.
The bench further added that in the instant case all the foundational facts are yet to be established and since the suit was more than nine years old, it directed the trial of the suit be concluded within six months by the lower court and the judgement be pronounced by July 31, 2021.
Cause Title: Mohd. Ashraf & Ors. V. Abdul Wahid Siddique (C.R.P 89/2016)Counsel for Petitioners: Arpit Bhargava & Hina BhargavaCounsel for Respondents: Mr. Rajiv Bajaj
Also Read : Legal Validity of Fatwas And Religious Dictates
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