Judicial imposition of Muslim law on Hindu girl

via V SUNDARAM - www.newstoday.net published on January 2, 2010

When 2 or 3 years ago, the Supreme Court of India passed what I considered to be a patently illegal and unconstitutional order in a specific case, I wrote an article in these columns under the title ‘The darkest day in India’s Legal History’.

I am constrained to use the same words again in respect of a blatantly and patently illegal order recently passed by the Calcutta High Court. It is a matter of national shame for all the Hindu women of India that the Calcutta High Court on 17 December 2009 granted the anticipatory bail plea of a 26-year-old youth from Murshidabad who had been accused of kidnapping and marrying a 15-year-old Hindu minor girl.

One Sairul Sheikh, a resident of Bakultala in Behrampore, has been accused of kidnapping and forcibly marrying a Hindu minor girl called Anita Roy. Anita’s mother Jyotsna had lodged a complaint with Behrampore Police Station that her daughter had been missing since 14 October. On 15 October, she came to know that Sairul Sheikh had ‘kidnapped and married’ her minor daughter.

A Division Bench of the Calcutta High court consisting of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh and Justice S P Talukdar allowed Sheikh’s plea after his lawyers submitted that the marriage was legal under Muslim Personal Law. Holding the marriage to be legal, the Bench Calcutta High Court granted Sheikh’s anticipatory bail application.

Even if Sairul Sheikh had married a minor Muslim girl then he would have been entitled to the full benefit of Muslim Personal Law. But he has no right to impose that Islamic law upon the Hindu men and women of India in general and Hindu minor girls in particular. He cannot claim kidnapping of a Hindu minor girl or rape of a Hindu minor girl as a legitimate ‘minority right’ under the Indian Constitution!!

The Calcutta High Court has given a new and twisted illegal interpretation to Muslim Personal Law. By denying legitimate legal relief to the Hindu minor girl Anita and her mother Jyotsna under The Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929 (Courtesy: Website of Ministry of Women and Child Development, GOI http://wcd.nic.in/cmr1929.htm), the Calcutta High Court has made the Hindus of India stateless non-persons similar to the status of non-Muslims in Saudi Arabia.

I FERVENTLY HOPE THAT MANY HINDU ORGANIZATIONS IN INDIA WOULD FILE AN APPLICATION TO THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF INDIA FOR PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION IN ORDER TO PREVENT THE GENERAL BLANJET ILLEGAL IMPOSITION OF MUSLIM PERSONAL LAW ON THE HINDU CITIZENS OF INDIA.

The standard legal dictum is that no citizen can legally claim ignorance of law as an excuse for violation of laws of the land. What is applicable to an individual is equally applicable to all our Courts of Law as well. In this context let me invite the attention of the Calcutta High Court to the following provisions of The Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929 (19 of 1929):

Section 2 : Definitions — In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context:

(a) “Child” means a person who, if a male, has not completed twenty one year of age, and if a female, has not completed eighteen years of age ;

Section 4 : Punishment for male adult above twenty one years of age marrying a child — Whoever, being a male above twenty one years of age, contracts a child marriage shall be punishable with simple imprisonment which may extend to three months and shall also be liable to fine.

Sairul Sheikh, the accused in this case as per Muslim Personal Law is patently guilty of blatant violation of Section 4 of The Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929. Any special Islamic privilege he might have under Muslim Personal Law cannot be invoked under this Act when the offence is committed against a Hindu minor girl.

Moreover, In my opinion, having kidnapped a Hindu minor girl (who has nothing to do with Muslim Personal Law) and forcibly marrying her, Sairul Sheikh has opened himself to the charge of committing the rape of a minor girl under the Indian Penal Code.

Here the words of the great American Chief Justice Felix Frankfurter are very relevant: “Judges as persons or Courts as institutions are entitled to no greater immunity from criticism than other persons or institutions. Just because the holders of judicial office are identified with the interests of Justice they may forget their common human frailties and fallibilities. … Therefore Judges must be kept mindful of their limitations and of their ultimate public responsibility by a vigorous stream of criticism with candour however blunt.”

When I was discussing the kidnapping case of Anita with one of the leading Hindu women social workers of Chennai, she jocularly exclaimed: ‘My way of joking is to tell the brutal and bitter truth about the Hindu women of India today and more particularly Hindu minor girls. The stupid self-absorbed attitude of most Hindu women today seems to be this: “I have had no problems whatsoever so far from the Muslims’.

Jagmohan Singh Khurmi, a fearless writer, has written a brilliant essay titled ‘Islamic Lust for Hindu Women: Psychological Warfare’. Let me quote his hilarious and yet sobering words here: “If these silly Bollywood Hindu filmmakers think that they are actually building “secular bridges” by portraying a Muslim hero riding a Hindu woman, then they are in error. They fail to understand Islamic mindset. Even if you make all the Muslims in India superstars, in Pakistan this will not be accepted as a sign of Hindu benevolence or even a gesture of genuine ‘Congress secularism’ but as an explicit evidence of Hindu inferiority and Islamic superiority! Such is their contempt for all things Hindu.’

One woman journalist TAVLEEN SINGH, known for her pro-Islamic stand and who at times went so far as to even justify Islamic terrorism, once got inside the Islamic house of the fanatic Dar-ul-Uloom at Deoband and for the first time in her life discovered the real nature of Islam for herself! To her horror she found that it was millions of light-years away from the rosy imagery Khushwant Singh and Romila Thapar had taught her for years. After a few minutes Tavleen Singh came out stamping her feet in fury. She was so angry that she wrote her next article under title: ‘If this is what secularism means, give me Hindutva’.

Finally, I cannot help quoting the beautifully apt words of Koenraad Elst: ‘One of the most painful aspects of Muslim demographic warfare is the open attempt by Muslims to grab non-Muslim girls to use them for their own demographic ambitions, meanwhile also inflicting a good dose of humiliation on the accursed kafirs. In Bangladesh and in Muslim-majority areas inside India, this often takes the form of simply kidnapping girls, or of threatening their families to marry them out to Muslims.’

(The writer is a retired IAS officer)

e-mail the writer at [email protected]

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