SC Rejects Petition to Scrap 26 “Terror Promoting” Verses from Holy Quran

NEW DELHI, Apr 12: The Supreme Court on Monday threw out a writ petition filed by former chief of Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Waqf Board Waseem Rizvi to scrap 26 verses from the Quran, saying they “promoted terror”.

A Bench led by Justice Rohinton Nariman declared the writ petition as “absolutely frivolous”. The court imposed ₹50,000 as costs on Mr. Rizwi. He has to pay the amount to the legal aid services authorities.

“Do you really want to argue the petition,” Justice Nariman asked the lawyer.

The latter sought “two minutes” to present his case. He went on to argue how these verses were used to instill the “sparks of Islamic terrorism” in children held in “captivity” in madrasas. He alleged that the 26 verses “promote violence” and were not part of the original Quran, but were added in later revisions, and should hence be removed from the holy book.

“We have heard the counsel and dismiss the petition as it is absolutely frivolous,” Justice Nariman concluded the hearing in short note.

In his petition, Mr. Rizwi said these verses were employed to justify acts of terror on “non-believers” and civilians. “On account of the verses of Holy Quran, (more particularly described in the Writ Petition), the religion of Islam is drifting away from its basic tenets with a fast pace and nowadays is identified with violent behaviour, militancy, fundamentalism, extremism and terrorism,” the petition had said.

Rizvi’s move to file the petition in the top court had caused massive backlash from several Islamic clerics and organisations in UP.

After the plea was filed on March 11, there have been protests against Rizvi in several cities and police complaints lodged including one by a BJP leader in Jammu and Kashmir, and one in Bareilly in UP.

While Rizvi often takes positions on contentious issues that align with the BJP, leaders from the ruling party, including former Union Minister Syed Shahnawaz Hussain have condemned his latest move. “I strongly object to and condemn Wasim Rizvi’s petition seeking removal of 26 verses from Quran. It is my party’s stand that saying absurd things about any religious texts, including Quran, is a highly condemnable act,” Hussain said.

Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court asked the centre and the Delhi police to open Masjid Bangley Wali for prayers during Ramzan rejecting the plea for limiting to only 20 persons at a time from the police verified list of 200 persons the permission to enter the Nizamuddin Markaz.

Observing that there cannot be a fixed list of devotees allowed to enter the Markaz when no other religious place has such norms, the Delhi High Court said, “It is an open place. They don’t have fixed devotees and no other religious place has.” Justice Mukta Gupta said anybody can wish to go to a temple or mosque or church and a specific list of 200 persons cannot be given by anyone.

“A 200-people list is not acceptable; that cannot be. Yes, you will make the exact area of the mosque, how much it is and tell me, as per the social distancing norms how many people can come in that mosque and so we will permit that only at a time only this much number will be there. Nobody can give the name. No religious place be asked for the names…,” said the court. “Your grievance may be to the visitors residing therein. At the moment, we are opening for the namaz — the person coming, offering namaz and then going out”

“The exercise of measuring the area of the mosque where the devotees can offer namaz five times in the day will be carried out today itself and as per the guidelines issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), keeping the distances required to be maintained, blocks will be made at the place where the prayer mats can be put for the devotees to offer Namaz,” reads the order.

(Manas Dasgupta)

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