“A Fatwa Does Not Have The Legal Force For Execution” —Majeed Memon
A noted criminal Attorney in legal circles in India and abroad, majeed Memon, National Secretary of the Nationalist Congress Party and member of the Rajya Sabha, who openly said that Rahul Gandhi should take responsibility for the Congress defeat in the 2014 Lok sabha elections, has been interviewed by Indira Satyanarayan at his residence Ashiyana in Mumbai. Excerpts:
The Supreme Court has recently said that fatwa has no legal sanction. What is your opinion on this declaration of the Supreme Court?
Fatwa is not a legal term. It is only a religious desirability of some religious leaders in the matter of dispute. At any point of time when Muslims feel some issue specific or general touching their personal way of life crops up and they need religious guidance, they approach some revered religious leader for guidance and upon exercise of the fact of the case or issue he gives his findings which is called fatwa. A fatwa does not have the legal force for execution.
What is your opinion on introducing the Uniform Civil Code?
The concept of Uniform Civil Code is bordering on conflict with assurances guaranteed under constitution of religious freedom. Any idea relating to information of Uniform Civil Code would, in all probabilities, be in conflict with some constitutional assurances and as such likely to be ultra virus whenever challenged.
What is your opinion on reservation on the basis of religion for Muslims?
Reservations on the basis of religion alone may not be sustained by law, if challenged. It is coupled with other yardsticks of eligibility of any backward dispensation of the society.
The NDA Government wants to scrap the Collegium system of selecting the judges. Chief Justice lodha however has defended the Collegium system and he has said that there is a campaign to defame the judiciary.
To some extent, the opinion of the current Chief Justice of India has some substance. The collegium system cannot be said to be a disaster or a total failure of system of the election of Judges because the system has also produced several excellent judges including the current Chief Justice of India himself. Nonetheless, total autonomy or supremacy to Judges alone for appointing their brethren has also some disadvantages too. But the transfer of power to executive with total lack of authority to Judges would spell doom to the cause. The proposed Bill with six members can wholly and outrightly reject the choice of three Judges unless the two other eminent members are with judicial background. This is a catch 22 position although a sole representative of the executive in the guise of the Law Minister himself cannot upset the selection process but if the two eminent members are won over by him, the Judges could be silenced. This is a flaw in the new arrangement.
You have mentioned on a TV channel that you are against the NDA Government’s proposal to do away with the Planning Commission.
Abrupt demolition of institutions that are in existence for long in democracy is dangerous. Experimentation would be welcome but not at the cost of rashness and with any political motivation. Although the past Planning Commission may not be functioning up to the expectations of the nation and corrective measures could have been taken but doing away with it and substituting it with some committee may not be of great utility.
External affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said that wherever there is violence it should be condemned. She has also said that india’s Israel—Palestine policy remains unchanged and that both countries should hold peace talks.
I have mentioned in the House that India should not be a silent spectator to the killings of innocent people. ‘’Hard worded resolutions’’ have to be passed.
Mohan Bhagwat of the RSS has said that India is a Hindu rashtra and Hindutva is its identity.
The Preamble of the Constitution has been amended with the words Democratic Secular Republic. This cannot be ignored nor can it be contravened or countered. As such any person talking of a religious India must fail.
What is your opinion on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement, ‘Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas’?
Narendra Modi is a good orator. India’s one sixth population of the minorities will not ignore this.
The Supreme Court has said that there should be an opposition leader in democracy. But the Congress has only 44 seats in the Parliament.
The BJP has a handsome mandate therefore it should not fear in the smooth functioning of the democracy. Unfortunately, it is still lacking grace in its conduct towards the opposition by denying the single largest party in the opposition the Leader of the Opposition post. The argument that it does not have the required number of one tenth need not be the governing factor to decide the issue. An healthy opposition is required for the smooth functioning of democracy. Absence of the Leader of the Opposition will make the ruling party more or less unaccountable.