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Sunday, April 20, 2014  

Kochi bank to follow Sharia law
KOCHI The Kerala government on Monday informed the high court that an Islamic bank was established on the secular principles of Sharia law and irrespective of religion anyone can become a stakeholder.

The oral submission was made by Advocate General CP Sudhakara Prasad on a petition by Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy and others challenging the proposal to start an Islamic financial institution. The bank was set up on the lines of Islamic banks in the state with the support of Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC).

The main objective of the Islamic bank is to mobilise funds for infrastructure and development programme. Untapped funds available with NRI and investors need to be utilised, Prasad said. The submission was made before a Division bench, comprising Chief Justice J Chelemeswar and Justice PK Ramachandra Menon. According to Swamy, Article 27 of the Constitution prohibits a state government body, in this case the KSIDC, to engage in ventures like Islamic banking.

In his petition, he said the mandatory governing principles of Sharia, religious code of Islam, to be adhered to is that not only interest payment and receipt are barred, but also it bars certain other activities which are legitimate under Indian laws. KSIDC cannot be permitted to promote a corporate called Al Barakh Financial Service Limited and even less be allowed to appropriate public funds, he had submitted.

The High Court had during the admission stage of the petition in April this year directed the state government and its institutions not to participate financially or otherwise in the financial company modelled on the lines of Islamic bank.

Press Trust of India
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