Islamic Banking In J&K: HC Grants Govt Month’s Time For Reply

Srinagar- The High Court has granted J&K government month’s further time to respond to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), seeking the introduction of Islamic Banking in Jammu and Kashmir.

A division bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Sanjay Dhar granted the time on the request by the counsel appearing for the government.

“Despite time allowed on 26.03.2021 to the respondents No. 3 and 4 (government functionaries) to file counter affidavit, same has not been filed till date,” the court said.

Assistant Solicitor General of India T. M. Shamshi submitted that the counter affidavit of Reserve Bank of India would suffice the purpose on behalf of union Finance Ministry.

“In view of the above, only the counter affidavit of respondent No. 3 and 4 is to be called upon,” the court said as per GNS, adding, “Accordingly, we direct counsel for the respondents No. 3 an 4 to file counter affidavit within further period of one month and no more.” The court posted PIL for further consideration on November 3.

The J&K bank has already informed the court it has unnecessarily been made a party as it doesn’t see a role for itself in Islamic banking.

Jammu and Kashmir People’s Forum, a non-government organization, filed the PIL in 2018. The Forum also seeks direction to the J&K Bank to take immediate steps for the opening of Shariah-compliant windows to accomplish the objective of mass level participation in Shariah Banking.

It also seeks direction to J&K Bank Limited to place before the court the entire details of NPAs and the steps taken for the recovery of the outstanding amount in NPAs, saying the same is public money which cannot be allowed to be misappropriated either by the account holders or by the management of the bank.

In 2013, Ministry of Finance had requested RBI to give its considered opinion regarding feasibility of introducing Islamic banking in India after examining all the legal, technical and regulatory issues relating to the matter. Accordingly, an Inter- Departmental Group (IDG) on Islamic Banking was constituted in RBI and the report prepared by the Group has been submitted to the Government in February 2016,” the Forum submitted.

“RBI has also forwarded a Technical Analysis Report based on the recommendation of the Group to the Government in December. (GNS)

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