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Excommunication practice in Dawoodibhora community

Published: 16th Feb, 2023

Excommunication practice in Dawoodibhora community


A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court referred the challenge to the constitutional validity of the practice of excommunication in the Dawoodi Bohra community to the nine-judge Bench constituted to review the Sabarimala judgment.


Who are the DawoodiBohras?

  • The DawoodiBohras are Shia Muslims whose leader is known as the Al-Dai-Al-Mutlaq. According to members of the community, there are around 1 million DawoodiBohras spread around the world.
  • For over 400 years, the leader of the community has been based in India, including the current and the 53rd leader, His Holiness Dr SyednaMufaddalSaifuddin.
  • The leader of the community is recognised by the members as having the right to excommunicate its members.

What is excommunication?

  • In practical terms, excommunication means not being allowed to access a mosque belonging to the community or a burial dedicated to the community.


  • It leads to the deprivation of legitimate rights and privileges of its members

Important Acts against excommunication

Bombay Prevention of Excommunication Act

  • On November 1, 1949, the Bombay Prevention of Excommunication Act (now repealed) was enacted.
  • It invalidated excommunication of any member, “notwithstanding anything contained in law, custom, usage” for the time being in force.

Maharashtra Protection of People from Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2016

  • The 2016 Act prohibits the social boycott of a person or a group of persons, and terms it a violation of fundamental rights.

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