New Delhi: Islamic seminary Darul Uloom
Deoband has issued an edict saying that Muslim women should
not become judges as it is forbidden in the religion.
The seminary posted the fatwa on its website after a
question was posed to it on the issue.
The edict which said that women should not become
judges has drawn sharp reaction from various quarters.
"Somebody`s qualification should be judged by
education and upbringing and not by gender. This is bias,"
said advocate and women activist Mumtaaz Akhtar.
Contending that the welfare of the community should
be kept in mind before issuing such decrees, she said, "A
woman understands the plight of another woman better. These
types of diktats only dishonour the work done by several
Muslim women in the field of judiciary."
In 1989, the country saw M Fathima Beevi from Kerala
becoming the first Muslim woman judge to be appointed to the
Supreme Court. Then in 2006, Seema Ali Khan was made a
permanent judge of the Patna High Court.
According to Supreme Court advocate Kamlesh Jain, such
fatwas affect the mindset of people and pose hurdles for
Muslim women who want to opt for this profession.
"There are only 10-15 per cent women who are working
in different departments of judiciary and they are performing
extremely well. A woman advocate or judge is preferred in
cases related to women issues but there are not enough women
in the field," Jain said.
Rukhsana Zabeen, who works with Radio Kashmir in
Srinagar as an assistant station director, says it is
difficult to accept that women should not become judges.
"How can someone suggest that women cannot be capable
judges without giving them an opportunity to show their
competence," she asked.
"It is, however, a different matter that according to
Islam, women should stay away from cases related to death as
they are likely to take decisions emotionally," Zabeen said.