India's Supreme Court Monday (April 12, 2021) dismissed a petition seeking removal of certain verses from the Muslim holy book of Quran for allegedly "preaching violence against non-believers".
The apex court also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on the petitioner, Syed Wasim Rizvi, a former head of the Shia Waqf Board in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, for filing the "absolutely frivolous" petition.
"We have heard the counsel and dismiss the petition as it is absolutely frivolous,” said Justice RF Nariman, who led a three-judge bench hearing the plea. He also asked the petitioner's counsel to deposit the fine of Rs 50,000 as court expenses.
In his public interest litigation (PIL) plea, Rizvi, alleged that as many as 26 verses in the holy book “promote violence”, and were not part of the original Quran, but added in later revisions.
The verses in question were: Verse 2 Surah 191, Verse 3 Surah 151, Verse 4 Surah 56, Verse 4 Surah 89, Verse 4 Surah 101, Verse 5 Surah 51, Verse 5 Surah 14, Verse 5 Surah 57, Verse 8 Surah 65, Verse 8 Surah 69, Verse 9 Surah 5 and Verse 9 Surah 14.
Others included Verse 9 Surah 23; Verse 9 Surah 28, Verse 9 Surah 29, Verse 9 Surah 37, Verse 9 Surah 58, Verse 9 Surah 111, Verse 9 Surah 123, Verse 21 Surah 98, Verse 32 Surah 22, Verse 33 Surah 61, Verse 41 Surah 27, Verse 41 Surah 28, Verse 48 Surah 20 and Verse 66 Surah 9.
As per the petition, Islam is based on concepts of equality and tolerance but is “drifting away from its basic tenets” due to “extreme interpretation of the said verses … and is now identified with militancy, fundamentalism, extremism and terrorism".
The petitioner also asked for the federal government and Madrasa Boards across the country to be “called upon to ensure what steps are taken to avoid literal teaching of the verses advocating violence".
Last month, police in Uttar Pradesh's Bareilly town booked Rizvi under the Indian Penal Code for allegedly hurting religious sentiments of Muslims by filing the petition in the Supreme Court.