Muslim group switches sect, Kerala HC upholds their rights to prayer and burial

Court held that a Jama-ath cannot prevent Muslims belonging to other sects from offering prayers in the mosque or burying their dead in public kabristan on their property

Kerala High court

The Kerala High Court recently ruled that every Muslim has the right to offer prayers in any mosque or bury their dead in a public kabaristan (burial ground), and that this cannot be obstructed based on their sect, reported LiveLaw.

A petition was filed by a wakf arguing that since some of its members had changed to a different sect, they were not entitled to offer prayers and bury their dead bodies on its property.

A division bench of Justice SV Bhatti and Justice Basant Balaji reportedly said, “A mosque is a place of worship and every muslim offers prayer in the mosque. The 1st defendant (Jama-ath) has no right to obstruct a member of the Jama-ath or any other muslim from offering prayers. The burying of dead bodies is also a civil right. The graveyard situated in the plaint schedule property is a public graveyard. Every muslim is entitled to get a decent burial according to civil rights and the graveyard under the supervision of 1st defendant is a public graveyard, any muslim or any member of the 1st defendant has a right to bury the dead.”

A few members and beneficiaries of Elappully Eranchery mosque were excommunicated for attending a religious discourse conducted by the Kerala Nadavuthul Mujahideen sect. They were allegedly banned from burying their dead on the property of the waqf, or offering prayers there, prompting them to institute an original suit at the tribunal.

The tribunal reportedly held that the Mujahideen members have the right to  prayers in the mosque and to bury the dead bodies of their family members in the said Jama-ath and therefore, the members of the waqf were permanently restrained from obstructing Mujahideen members from conducting prayers in the mosque or burying their dead in the plaint scheduled property.

Accordingly, a revision petition was filed before the High Court. Advocates P Jayaram and Sarath Chandran KB appearing for the petitioners submitted that the religious beliefs and practices of Allahu Sunnath Val Jama-ath and Kerala Naduvathul Mujahideen are different in many ways and the different fractions offering prayers and conducting funerals in the same mosque and graveyard will disturb public order, morality and health of Muslims. They further argued that the impugned judgment is violative of Article 15 and 25 of the Constitution.

Advocate TH Abdul Azeez appearing for the respondents reportedly contended that the act of the revision petitioners in not allowing them to offer prayers and bury dead bodies is illegal.

However, the Court held that the Jama-ath had no right to interfere with the right of a Muslim to offer prayers in a mosque and that burying dead bodies is a civil right. Therefore, according to the Court, the Jama-ath cannot obstruct the respondents from offering prayers or burying their dead merely because it had been ex-communicated from the Jama-ath for following the Kerala Naduvathul Mujahideen Sect. The revision petition was dismissed.



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