Message for the “Justice Sunday (August 17th) for Catholics in Delhi.
The excerpts from the Supreme Court Judgement.
The lessons from the Judgement of the Supreme Court on 7 – 7 – 2014 regarding the issuance of Fatwa by the Muslims according to the Muslim personal Law by the Dar-ul – quzas are very revealing to all of us in the light of J.P.L (The debated Joint Pastoral Letter, shared by the Arch Bishops of Faridabad and Delhi) looming on us denying the freedom and the fundamental rights of the individuals.
Some of the relevant parts are put down here “as it is” for all us to see the illegality of the Joint Pastoral Letter imposed on us by quoting the Cannon Laws. The National Laws legislated by our National Parliament according to our Constitution which proclaims the freedom of the individual and the fundamental rights is above all the Religious laws such as Muslim personal laws and cannon laws or any such laws and any actions by the Heads of religion which deny the freedom and fundamental rights.
The Supreme Court appreciates these bodies such as as Dar- Ul- qaza (Muslim Court ) a source which can bring about amicable settlement of disputes of civil or religious nature as long as it does not infringe the freedom of individuals..
But it clearly states that” Dar – ul – Qaza is neither created nor sanctioned by any law made by the competent legislature. Therefore, the opinion or the Fatwa issued by Dar-ul-qaza or for that matter anybody is not adjudication of dispute by an authority under judicial system Sanctioned by Law. A Qazi or Mufti has no authority of powers to impose his opinion and enforce his Fatwa on any one by any coercive method.”
“In fact whatever may have been the power of Fatwa during Mogul or British Rule; it has no place in independent India under our Constitutional Scheme. It has no legal sanction and cannot be enforced by any legal process either by Dar- ul-Qaza issuing that or the person concerned or that matter anybody. The person or the body concerned may ignore it. It will not be necessary for anybody to challenge before any court of law. It can simply be ignored. In any case, any person or body tries to impose it, their act would be illegal”.
“As observed earlier, the Fatwa has no legal status in our Constitutional Scheme.”
“The object of establishment of such a court (Dar-ul-qaza) may be laudable but we have no doubt in our mind that it has no legal status. It is bereft of any legal pedigree and has no sanction in the laws of the land. They are not part of the corpus Juris of the State. A Fatwa is an opinion, only an expert is expected to give. It is not a decree, not binding on the court or the state or the individual. It is not sanctioned under our constitutional scheme.”
“However, as Fatwa gets strength from the religion, it causes serious psychological impact on the person intending not to abide by that. As projected by respondent 10 ( Dar – ul – Uloom, Deoband, “God fearing Muslims obey the Fatwas” They added “It is for the persons/parties who obtain Fatwa to abide or not. “ It however emphasises that “the persons who are God fearing and believe that they are answerable to the Almighty and have to face the consequences of their doings/ deeds, such are the persons, who submit the fatwa”
“In our opinion, one may not object to issuance of Fatwa on a religious issue or any other issue so long it does not infringe upon the rights of individuals guaranteed under the law.”
“Having regard to the fact that a Fatwa has the potential of causing immense devastation, we feel impelled to add a word of caution. We would like to advise the Dar-ul-Qaza or for that matter anybody, not to give any response or issue Fatwa concerning an individual, unless asked for by the person involved or the person directly interested”.
“Issuance of Fatwa on rights, status and obligation of individual Muslim, in our opinion, would not be permissible unless asked for by the person concerned”.
“Fatwas touching upon the rights of an individual at the instance of rank strangers may cause irreparable damage and therefore, would be absolutely uncalled for It shall be in violation of basic human rights. It cannot be used to punish innocent. No religion including Islam punishes the innocent. Religion cannot be allowed to be merciless to the victim. Faith cannot be used as dehumanising force”
“We observe that no Dar-ul-qaza or for that matter, anybody or institution by any name, shall give verdict or issue Fatwatouching upon the rights, status and obligation, of an individual unless such an individual has asked for it”.
“In any event, the decision, or the Fatwa issued by whatever body, being not emanating from any judicial system recognised by law, it is not binding on any one including the person, who had asked for it. Further, such an adjudication or Fatwa does not haves a force of law and, therefore, cannot be enforced by any process using coercive method. Any person trying to enforce that by any method shall be illegal and has to be dealt with in accordance with law”.
After reading these excerpts from the Judges of our supreme court, you may come to your own conclusions about the situation in which the Catholics of Delhi are. This is not a problem only for Delhi, but the whole country and also the world at large. If you change the name Dar-ul-qaza to the two Archdiocese and the Word Fatwa to JPL, we can see the enormity of illegal injustice we the believers are subjected to.
The illegalities and injustices in the Joint Pastoral Letter.
The JPL is signed by both the Archbishops. As far as the Archbishop of Faridabad is concerned, he has no local standing legally, spiritually, emotionally, socially or economically to send a letter to the parish priests of the Archdiocese of Delhi to be read out in the churches of the Archdiocese of Delhi in matters effecting freedom and fundamental rights of the members of these parishes. If the letter had been written by him only and advised by him to read out and take action on matters mentioned in that, the parish priests of Delhi Archdiocese and the members of the parishes have no obligation to heed to his advice. Such a letter will have the value and status of a scrap paper.
But When the Archbishop of Delhi has signed that joint letter and had asked the parish priests of his diocese, and the members of the parish to take action of the contents of the letter, he is dealing with people who are under his care legally, spiritually, emotionally, socially and even economically. He has the responsibility and authority to advice his people and the members of the parishes of his diocese. When he sends a command or order or advice or directive, it affects the life of all the existing members of his Archdiocese of Delhi. It happens that these commands sent by him signed jointly by both the Archbishops are infringing the fundamental rights and religious freedom of the people who are under his spiritual care. This action is blatantly illegal.
The areas of illegality
1. The S.M. Catholics were members of Archdiocese of Delhi parishes for decades. They remained as Syrians but participated in Latin rite services with full loyalty towards the Archbishop of Delhi as their Archbishopfor almost half a century. They had all the rights as a catholic and as a member of their parish and diocese of Delhi without any discrimination as Syrian or Latin communities. They together with all Catholics contributed to the spiritual, social, political, emotional and economical growth of the Archdiocese of Delhi as equal partners. On a fine morning, the Archbishop of Delhi sent out an order that these loyal
2. Syrian Catholics are no more members of the Archdiocese of Delhi and there is no choice for them except to get out. This is against all fundamental human rights and freedom of the individual. This is absolutely illegal.
3. There is threat or a coercive approach the Archbishops have taken to make sure that these people to obey their illegal order, you have prohibited the Syrian Catholics to receive the two most important religious practices (sacraments} in a Catholic person’s life (The sacrament of Baptism and the sacrament of Marriage out of the seven sacraments of the church) in the churches of the archdiocese of Delhi Diocese visa-vis the practices which were prevalent for decades from the beginning of the Archdiocese. Is this not a coercive action? Is it legal?
4. It is also ordered that a Syrian Catholic person man or woman has to get clearance for his or her marriage not from the parish he or she was a member so long (The Archdiocese of Delhi) but from the parish priest of a newly constituted Syrian Catholic Parish whether the person concerned or the parish priest are known to each other or not. Where is the justice in this?
5. “The faithful of the Syro-malabar Church cease to be members of the parishes of the Archdiocese of Delhi”. “Basically, there is no choice in this matter” These two sentences in this letter signed by you both are illegal in many ways.
a. It is against the fundamental human rights, individual freedom and religious freedom
b. You are using coercive methods to make the people obey and surrender to your dikaits.
c. These two sentences are to be applied to all faithful of the Syro-malabar People. In fact it applies only to the Syrian LayCatholics.
d. What happens to all the Syrian born priests and Bishops in the Archdiocese of Delhi? Will they cease to be the Bishops and priests of the Archdiocese of Delhi?
Are they not belonging to the Syro-malabar faithful?
(The new definition of Syro-Malabar faithful means ONLY Lay People born of Syro-Malabar families.The Syrian born Bishops, priests, brothers and nuns in the catholic congregation under the Archdiocese of Delhi are excempted. How could this be? Are they not Syrian born ?)
e. What happens to all the Syrian born Priests, Brothers, and sisters (nuns) in various congregations under the Archdiocese in Delhi running a number of catholic institutions…? All these, at least 95% of these congregations are Latin congregation with almost 60 to 80 percent of the priests, brothers and nuns from Syros-Malabar families. Are they super natural people who have special exception from being Syro-malabar faithful?
Is it not the duty of the Archbishop to apply the rules he creates for the Catholics to be applied to the clergy under his care first before he applies it to the lay people to show his sincerity of purpose?.
f. It is heart breaking for any Catholic to witness the Shepherds of the Church tearing down the spiritual, social, emotional and psychological bonds that was existing within the Catholic Church with your bifurcation plan. Nobody can build that unity, that oneness of the church except by those who did this crime of illegality without any human or divine feelings. For the sake of this unity, this oneness in Christ, we the lay people must be willing to go to any extend with humility and love for Christ. We need to experience the boldness to be the part of the real mystical body of Jesus, the one only Church. There is only one person we have to answer. That is Jesus.
g. There is an enormous economic angle to this decision and dikait. These Syro-Malabar faithful (yes the lay people) nurtured the growth of the diocese and the new parish churches and their activities from the inception of the Diocese with their time, prayers, energy and money with the faith. They belonged to this only Catholic Church. They genuinely belonged to this church. The church documents will show that these people as parish members for many years and regularly supporting the church in its constructions, mentainences and regular workings.Do you mean to say that such people who were part and parcel of the church can be told that they “cease to be members of this parish and diocese” without even thinking of compensating them in order to build new churches for them? Where is your Christian justice? What will the national Justice system will have to say to this illegal action?
h. What about the institutions such as schools, hospitals, old age homes, even colleges where majority of administrators (Fathers, brothers and sisters) are from Syrian families? Will the institutions change into Syrian institutions? or will these people have to obey your command to the Syrian born catholics (cease to be members of the Archdiocese and that there is no choice) and embrace the Syrian church? What happens to the institutions which are built with the sweat and blood of these people? Will they get a share of it? See one illegal act can lead to a flood of other illegal actions.
i. What about the Syrian catholic parents, who had been also along with other Catholics, the backbone of many institutions especially schools and colleges. Do the children of the Syrian catholic children have any right of admission in these institutions when they are outcastes in the present situation? Will the Syrian parish priest’s letter that the child is a catholic give the child the right of admission in the existing institutions?
If we dwell further into the consequences of the illegal action, we can find a number of them. Can’t we leave peacefully and in love as we did so long? Many of the religions are breaking and as a result violence and civil wars are taking place. Should we, the Catholics also, contribute to another religious war? It is for the Sheppard’s to decide whether they are followers of Christ or that of wealth and power. Where are you leading the faithful to? A civil war? A legal war? Or closer to Jesus?