The Rules enable a person to declare his willingness to be governed by Muslim Personal Law
The Government of Kerala has framed rules under Section 4 of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act 1937.
As per Section 3 of the Shariat Act, a person can give declaration before the prescribed authority regarding his willingness to be governed by Muslim Personal Law. Section 4 of the Act gives State Government the power to make rules to carry into effect the purposes of the Act.
In the absence of Rules, there was no mechanism in place to give effect to the Act. The newly framed Rules titled – Muslim Personal Law(Shariat) Application Rules 2018- fills up this void, enabling a person to give declaration to adopt Muslim Personal Law.
The Rules are framed following the directions issued High Court of Kerala on June 26 in the case Thadevoos @ Abu Thalib v State of Kerala
Abu Thalib, who had filed the case, was born a Christian and later embraced Islam. He wanted to give a declaration regarding change of faith,but could not do so due to the absence of Rules. According to him, he felt the need to give such a declaration the wake of an incident where one late Simon Master, who had converted to Islam from Christianity, was not buried as per Islamic rites as his family did not recognize his conversion. The case of Simon Master had led to a litigation in High Court when a Muslim body claimed that Simon Master should be buried as per Islamic rites.In order to avoid such future confusion, Abu Thalib wanted to give a statutory declaration.
The High Court interpreted the word “may” in Section 4 of the Shariat Act to be mandatory, and directed the Government to positively frame Rules within three months.
The Rules lay out a form of declaration, Form I, which has to be given to the prescribed authority after attestation by a Notary public.
“I intend to be government by Muslim personal law on matters such as adoption, wills and legacies as specified in Section 3 of the Act”, says the declaration form. Along with the form, the declarant has to produce proof to satisfy the claim.