Pune: A Sharia Court conducted solely by women with an aim to redress grievances of Muslim women has started functioning in the city.
Set up by Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), the first all-women Sharia Court here will deal with various family issues, including marital discord, divorce as well as property-related disputes.
"We will be functioning to mete out justice to women in Muslim community in tune of with the tenets of the Quran which confers equal rights to both men and women.
"In reality, however, women are often discriminated against by the all-men Sharia Courts traditionally run by All India Muslim Personal Law Board," said Saeeda Jamadar, President of the Court`s Pune branch that opened on Wednesday.
Saeeda, along with Zubeda Khatoon, BMMA`s Maharashtra Convenor, will be on the two-Judge Bench of the new Court, seen as part of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (DSR) mechanism in the judicial system.
Explaining the BMMA measure which supports the cause of Muslim women, Saeeda said the Pune Court had been set up by the organisation following an encouraging response to a similar initiative in three other cities of the country.
Noting that Muslim women are condemned to untold hardships after they are divorced, she said, "If the Quran has given equal rights to both men and women, why should women always experience discrimination often practiced by the male-dominated Sharia Courts that take a biased view of the marital dispute?"
The BMMA Courts would aim at delivering justice to Muslim women without harbouring any bias against men who, too, are welcome to approach its forum, she maintained.
There had been instances where the muftis (scholars) manning the regular Sharia Courts fail to even summon the woman concerned before disposing of the matter, Saeeda said.
Besides this new initiative, BMMA is also working to create awareness among Muslim women about their property rights, Saeeda, a city-based teacher, said.