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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Child rights panel writes to UP for action on Deoband fatwas

The notice, sent to the Sahranpur district magistrate as well as to the chief secretary and the DGP, said it was based on a complaint received by the commission about the seminary’s “unlawful and misleading fatwas’’

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: January 18, 2022 8:32:09 am
Child rightsThe National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has written to the Uttar Pradesh government to “examine” and “investigate” the Darul Uloom Deoband’s fatwas on education, adoption and other issues related to children.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has asked the Uttar Pradesh government to “examine’’ and “investigate’’ fatwas by the Darul Uloom Deoband on education, adoption and other issues related to children, saying many of the Islamic seminary’s rulings are in contravention of the Juvenile Justice Act.

The commission has directed the UP government to “immediately remove’’ the content from the seminary’s website and report to it in the next 10 days on the action taken.

The NCPCR letter, sent to District Magistrate Sahranpur as well as to the UP Chief Secretary and DGP, is based on a complaint it received against the Darul Uloom Deoband’s website and “unlawful and misleading fatwas” being issued by them.

Darul Uloom spokesperson Ashraf Usmani said the seminary, however, has yet to receive any notice. “We have received no intimation from any official channel about this,’’ he said.

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In the letter, NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo has said that following the complaint, the Darul Uloom’s website was examined and “it was observed that the explanation and answers provided in response to issues raised by individuals do not align with the laws and Acts in the country.’’

The letter points out that the Darul Uloom has deemed adoptions as unlawful and said the adopted child could not become an heir to property. “It is pertinent to mention here that such fatwas are not only misleading to the law of the land but are also illegal in nature,” the letter reads.

“The Constitution of India provides for fundamental rights of children including right to education and right to equality. Further, the Hague Convention on Adoption, to which India is a signatory, states that adopted children would enjoy the same rights as biological children. The Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 in Section 2(2) defines adoption as the process through which the adopted child is permanently separated from his biological parents and becomes the lawful child of his adoptive parents with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities that are attached to a biological child,’’ the letter further reads.

“Therefore, any child who is adopted by prospective adoptive parents enjoys the same rights and privileges as that of a biological child which includes succession rights,” the commission said.

The complainant, the NCPCR said, has mentioned similar such fatwas which pertain to school syllabus, college uniform, education of children in “un-Islamic” atmosphere, higher Madrasa education of girls and corporal punishment.

One fatwa allows for corporal punishment, while another says girls need to be taught only by women teachers after a certain age and that even school uniforms can be “un-Islamic’’, the commission has observed.

These rulings, the NCPCR said, violate Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution and are also in contravention of Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 for cruelty against children.

“Access to such website may be prevented until the removal of such content for avoiding spread and recurrence of unlawful statements and consequently preventing incidents of violence, abuse, neglect, harassment, discrimination against children. Also, action may be taken for violating provisions of the Constitution of India, Indian Penal Code, Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and Right to Education Act, 2009,’’it has said.

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