Rashid Paul

Islamic Banking: HC grants 4 week’s time for filling response

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Srinagar:  The J&K High Court today granted four weeks time to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the state government for filing their response to a public interest petition (PIL) seeking introduction of Islamic Banking in the state.

A division bench comprising of acting Chief Justice Aloke Aradhe and Justice M K Hanjura granted the time to Union Ministry of Finance, RBI, chief secretary of J&K, principal secretary Finance and the J&K Bank for filing their response to the PIL.

The Union and the RBI were represented by Tashir Shamsi and J&K Bank was represented by Z A Shah.

The bench granted four weeks time to respondents after the counsels said that their reply is under process as such some time may further be granted to them.

The PIL has been filed by an NGO, Peoples Forum through advocate Altaf Haqani seeking direction from the court that the respondents be directed to introduce Sharia complaint windows as recommended by Deepak Mohanty Committee and the report of the Inter- Departmental Group of RBI on the feasibility of introducing of Islamic Banking in India.

“The constitution of India as applicable to the state of Jammu and Kashmir as also the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir guarantees every citizen within the country and within the state to profess, practice and propagate his/her faith and religion. The constitution also guarantees every citizen the right of life and liberty and exercise and avail equal opportunities in the overall economic developmental process of the country and the state,” the petitioner says.

“The majorities of the citizens in the state of Jammu and Kashmir are Muslims by faith and thus have a constitutional right to enjoy all avenues of development provided the same do not contravene the article of their faith,” the petitioner says, adding that it was common knowledge that receiving and giving of Interest (Riba) in Quranic parlance is prohibited (Haram) and was “widely” disliked by other faiths as well. He has referred to various verses of Quran to substantiate the assertions.

The petitioner has sought direction from the court to RBI to take immediate steps in its constituent banks including the Jammu and Kashmir Bank limited so as to facilitate Shariah Compliant Windows (Islamic banking).

Besides, the petitioner has also sought directions to Jammu and Kashmir Bank Limited to place entire details before the court regarding Non Performing Accounts (NPAs) and the steps taken for recovery of the outstanding amount in NPAs as the same is public money which cannot be allowed to be misappropriated either by the account holders or by the management of the bank.

The petitioner has also sought directions to chairman of the J&K Bank to take immediate steps for opening of Shariah Compliant windows to accomplish the object of mass level participation in Shariah Banking by the people of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in particular and the people of the other areas where ever the J&K Bank has established its branches.

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