Madras High Court issues notice for PIL against Muslim clerics

Madras High Court issues notice for PIL against Muslim clerics

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Madras High Court by Badar Sayeed, the first woman to head the Wakf Board and the Tamil Nadu Minorities Commission to stop the practice of Muslim clerics issuing talaq (divorce) certificates.

In her PIL, Badar Sayeed, a former AIADMK MLA, and a former additional advocate-general in the high court, said that though Kazis had not been statutorily conferred any administrative or judicial power to issue certificates and other documents certifying or approving talaq, they have been continuing the practice unlawfully.

According to her, Kazis Act, 1880 was enacted only for the purpose of attendance of a Kazi at a marriage, and that the Act does not confer any power on them to issue a certificate recognizing divorces or talaq.

Badar said that, “It has been repeatedly held that any talaq, unless preceded by mediation or reconciliation, is invalid. But the Kazis in Tamil Nadu are unilaterally issuing certificates and documents recognizing talaq.”

She noted that Kazis were judicial authorities under the Muslim Personal Law once, but their powers had been taken over by civil courts during the British rule.

She pointed out that the mandatory conditions for pronouncing triple talaq are not being followed by many Muslim men and that Muslim women were left in the lurch due to the lacuna. “They are asked to be satisfied by certain reliefs given under the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986,” she added. 

The division  bench comprising acting Chief Justice R K Agrawal and Justice M Sathyanarayanan before whom the PIL came for hearing, has issued notice to the state and central governments and Chief Kazi, returnable in two weeks.

(from media inputs)

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