Dawoodi Bohras

  • IASbaba
  • February 14, 2023
  • 0
Governance, Indian Polity & Constitution
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Context: The long-pending challenge to the practice of excommunication in the Shia sect has been referred to the 9-judge Bench hearing the Sabarimala review petition on essential religious practice.

Who are the Dawoodi Bohras?

  • Shia Muslims whose leader is known as the Al-Dai-Al-Mutlaq.
  • There are around 1 million Dawoodi Bohras spread around the world.
  • The main language of the community is Lisan al-Dawat, a dialect of Gujarati with inclusions from Arabic and Urdu.

Practice of excommunication in the Dawoodi Bohra community

  • The leader of the community is recognised by the members as having the right to excommunicate its members.
  • In practical terms, excommunication means not being allowed to access a mosque belonging to the community or a burial dedicated to the community.

Legal validity of excommunication?

  • Article 25 – Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion
  • Article 26 – Freedom to manage religious affairs
  • The practice was claimed to be essential to the Dawoodi Bohra faith.
  • SC’s view- The SC held in 1962 held that the Dai’s position is an essential part of the community.

What is the plea now?

  • The 2016 Act– The Maharashtra Protection of People from Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2016 prohibits social boycott of a person or a group of persons describing it as “inhuman”.
  • The act defines 16 types of social boycott– including preventing members of a community from having access to facilities including community halls, and burial grounds, among others.
  • It is termed as a violation of fundamental rights punishable with imprisonment for up to 3 years.
  • Supreme Court’s consideration– The Supreme Court has said that it would consider whether the practice protected by the 1962 constitutional bench order can continue.
    • It is referred to the 9-judge Bench hearing the Sabarimala review petition on essential religious practice.

Source: Indian Express


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