Judiciary and Constitution play a key role in all fields of life of the citizen in India in many aspects. Contemporary democratic reality in India is characterized by the growing role of court in politics. While judiciary has been said that the last resort of a citizen when his/her rights are denied, whether it could actually act upto the expectations of downtrodden sections of the society is a million dollar question.
One of the principle concerns of contemporary legal discourse is the relationship of religion to society and the state. The role of religion in the Indian public sphere is actively contested; both within academic and popular discourse but too often, the constitutional and legal foundations of the place of religion in India are neglected. The driving question is how has the judiciary in independent India interpreted the right to freedom of religion, constitutional morality and in turn influenced the discourse on secularism and nationalism. The discussion on the definition of religion and the essential practices doctrine developed by the court has to be critically analyzed and there is alarming need to understand the nature, power and limits of the Court’s intervention in the realm of religious matters. The politics of court verdicts on Muslim personal law has to discussed and the questions of Muslim women has to be given prominence which might enlighten the discourse on Shariat, Muslim Personal Law with in Muslim community in particular and in legal discourse in general.
On the other hand there is a life threatening situation prevails in the country where the Muslims, as members of a minority Community within a Hindu Majoritarian country, are denied their very right to life guaranteed under the constitution through mob lynchings, hate crimes and pogroms. Inherently violent law of the state sanctions innocent people to be detained behind the bar for long years exempting them from the “privilege” of having a “due process of law” in the name of terrorism and acquit without any compensation and any measure of rehabilitation.
This one-day seminar tries to engage legal discourse with the various forms of Islamophobia experienced by Muslims in India and raises the need of new legislation to end the denial of basic human rights on account of citizens’s religious identity. This seminar attempts to critically analyze the role of the court in the contemporary times and tries to explore the possibilities and limits of law in bringing changes in the society through an Indian Muslim perspective. The seminar also tries to put forth how different communities and nationalities in India engages with the constitution and what has been the response of judiciary towards these engagements hitherto. The seminar critically approaches regarding the rights of the oppressed sections in India in general and muslims in particular.
The seminar will be inaugurated by Adv Haris Beeran, one of the prominent lawyers from the minority community in Supreme Court of India. The program is scheduled to have three sessions in the titles ‘Secularism, Religion and the Constitution: Frames of Reading, Sharia and Muslim Personal Law Debates in India : An Overview, Islamophobia and Resistance: Thinking Through Law which would be chaired by Adv Greeshma Aruna Rai, Dr Varsha Basheer and Dr. K Ashraf respectively. Prominent lawyers and researchers from different parts of the country will present the papers and will be held on 30th December organized by SIO Thiruvananthapuram District committee.