On April 12, the Supreme Court imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on Former UP Shia Waqf Broad Chairman Syed Wasim Rizvi for his PIL to remove 26 verses of the Quran for promoting terrorism and jihad. In his PIL, Rizvi stated that these verses are allegedly used by Islamist Terrorist Groups as justification for attacks on non-believers and civilians.
#SupremeCourt slaps a cost of ₹50k on ex-Shia board chairman Syed Waseem Rizvi for his PIL seeking the deletion of certain verses from Quran on the ground they allegedly promote hatred & terror.— Utkarsh Anand (@utkarsh_aanand) April 12, 2021
The court called PIL frivolous
The three-judge bench of Justice RF Nariman, Justice BR Gavai and Justice Hrishikesh Roy heard the petition. As the hearing began, Justice Nariman repeated asked Rizvi if he really wants to go ahead with the petition.
Justice Nariman asks the counsel of Rizvi : Are you pressing the petition? Are you seriously pressing the petition?#SupremeCourt— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) April 12, 2021
Senior Advocate K Raizada appearing for Rizvi, said, “Students are not to be indoctrinated. These preachings cannot be in the market place of the idea. I have written to the Centra Government for action, but nothing has happened.” He claimed that children are kept in captivity at madras at a tender age.
Sr Adv K Raizada for Rizvi : Students are not to be indoctrinated. These preachings cannot be in market place of idea. I have written to the Centra Government for action, but nothing has happened.#SupremeCourt— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) April 12, 2021
The apex court, while imposing a fine on Rizvi, called his writ petition absolutely frivolous. The court said, “We hold that the Courts cannot sit in judgment over the Quran or the contents thereof in any legal proceedings. Such adjudication of the religion itself is not permissible. Similarly, the Courts cannot and will not adjudicate on theories of philosophy or of science or scientific principles”.
The court further said that any attempt to make changes in Quran in the manner the petitioner has sought to be done would infringe the right to freedom of religion, including the right to profess, practise and propagate religion.
“We take note of the fact that the Koran has been accepted as a holy through the ages. It is read, followed, published and distributed in all civilised countries of the world,” the court added. There has been no interference with Quran either in India or in any other country up till now. “It is too late in the day for the writ petitioners to contend that publication and propagation of Koran would cause disharmony between communities and religions and the tenets of Koran to constitute an insult to other religions or communities,” the court said.
Rizvi’s petition against 26 verses of the Quran
In his petition, Rizvi sought directions from the court to remove 26 verses from Quran that were Verse 9 Surah 5; Verse 9 Surah 28; Verse 4 Surah 101; Verse 9 Surah 123; Verse 4 Surah 56; Verse 9 Surah 23; Verse 9 Surah 37; Verse 5 Surah 57; Verse 33 Surah 61; Verse 21 Surah 98; Verse 32 Surah 22; Verse 48 Surah 20; Verse 8 Surah 69; Verse 66 Surah 9; Verse 41 Surah 27; Verse 41 Surah 28; Verse 9 Surah 111; Verse 9 Surah 58; Verse 8 Surah 65; Verse 5 Surah 51; Verse 9 Surah 29; Verse 5 Surah 14; Verse 4 Surah 89; Verse 9 Surah 14; Verse 3 Surah 151; and Verse 2 Surah 191.
According to his PIL, he said that Islam is based on the concept of equality, forgiveness, equity and tolerance. However, people are drifting away from these basics. He added, due to the extreme interpretations of the 26 verses of the Holy book, Islam is identified with militancy, fundamentalism, extremism and terrorism.
He further added that there are many Muslim madarsas worldwide where young children are taught Islam and Quran. He said, “These verses are like poison in the raw mind of young children in the name of the message of Allah, which leads him to a radical mindset and from his early age when they become young, they hate people of other religions because of their mindset, and many youths get involved with terrorist organizations in some way under this mentality, the wrong messages of Allah Has been filled in the name of Islam.”
FIRs and death threats against Rizvi
After he submitted PIL in the Supreme Court, several FIRs and death threats were targeted towards him. On March 15, a Shia lawyer offered money to behead ex-UP Shia Board Chief Waseem Rizvi. He said he would sell his son to collect money for the bounty.
The National Commission for Minorities also demanded an unconditional apology from Waseem Rizvi over his PIL to remove the verses from Quran. In the notice, the commission said, “The NCM directs you to withdraw your comments and tender an unconditional apology within 21 days, failing which the Commission will be constrained to hold a hearing under section 9 of the National Commission of Minorities Act, 1992 and appropriate direct authorities to take legal action as deemed fit.”
On March 20, hundreds of Muslims gathered at the Jama Masjid in the National Capital to protest against him. The protestors, belonging to both Shia and Sunni communities, had alleged that Waseem Rizvi had been ‘deliberately’ trying to drive a wedge between the two communities. They had urged the Muslim community to boycott the Shia leader, accused him of corruption and looting Waqf Board properties. The demonstrators were also seen marching towards the Supreme Court of India.