Women’s Protection Act 2006: Legal expert defends Federal Shariat Court’s decision

Published: January 14, 2011

Decision to knock out three sections of act hailed by researcher.

KARACHI: An amicus curiae (someone, not a party to a case, who volunteers to offer information to assist a court) to the Federal Shariat Court, a researcher in Islamic jurisprudence has sought efforts to improve public understanding about Islamic laws.

Syeda Viquarun Nisa Hashmi also urged the removal of procedural flaws from these laws.

“Understanding the principles of Shariat and Quranic injunctions by people in general would protect them from being instigated on false grounds and also from being fleeced,” she said. On the Hudood Laws, she said the intelligentsia and human-rights activists need to realise that the recent decision of the Federal Shariat Court to knock out three sections of the Protection of Women Act 2006 was to benefit the marginalised sections of society.

In fact, it is a landmark judgment and has resolved many issues of jurisdiction, said the researcher. She regretted, however, that the decision – that declared three sections of the act unconstitutional and un-Islamic – could not be properly understood by many due to their poor understanding of Islamic laws. “This declaration would reduce the burden on other courts and protect women.”

She reiterated that the judgment has resolved the issues of jurisdictional dichotomy of courts by declaring the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal Shariat Court – as envisaged under Article 203DD of the Constitution – to hear appeals and revisions in all cases falling within the ambit of the term Hadd. Until the offence is proven, the hadd punishment cannot be inflicted, she explained. “Therefore, it is important for the same court to also decide all the kin, auxiliary and analogous areas of Hudood offences.

“The burden on other courts is also likely to be reduced.”

Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2011.

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