By Ashish Tripathi & Shailvee Sharda
Jul 15, 2012
In view of problems faced by Muslim couples in getting passports, the executive committee of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board on Sunday passed a resolution demanding that the Nikahnama - the testimony of marriage in Islam - should be accepted as a marriage registration certificate by the government agencies. The Board also pointed out the union government's proposed Waqf Amendment Bill 2010 has many defects and the attitude of Law Ministry and Ministry of Minorities Affairs is irrational in this matter. The committee also expressed deep concern about the manner in which CBI is prosecuting Babri Masjid case in Rae Bareli's special court.
"Though the Nikahnama has been provided a legal status in India, the passport office does not accept the document as the proof of marriage, resulting in unnecessary harassment of the Muslims applying for the passport. They are forced to take round of the Tehsil office for getting official certificate from the registrar of marriages. We want that the Nikahnama to be accepted as marriage certificate," said Mohammad Abdul Rahim Quraishi, general secretary of the board. He said that Board has decided to constitute committees in various states to study registration laws and to make representation to the respective state governments to recognise Nikahnama and include it in the Acts/rules. "Muslims have no problems with marriage registration. In fact Islam is the only religion with an elaborate system of marriage registration. Our system is age-old and has a presence even in the remotest village. The document is available with the Quazis who solemnise Nikah," he said.
The six-hour-long meeting that took place at Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Nadwa-tul-Ulema on Sunday. Chaired by AIMPLB president, Maulana Rabe Hasan Nadwi, besides problems in marriage registration, the executive committee also expressed concern on some judgments against principles of Shariat in matters of divorce and maintenance to divorced women. It was decided that the AIMPLB would move the apex court for a review of the judgements. "Shariat is part of Islam and Muslims are bound to follow it, " Quraishi said.
The members also condemned the Centre's role particularly that of ministries of law and minority affairs in connection with the Central Waqf Amendment Bill, 2010. "They have been creating hurdles in letting us preserve, protect and recover Waqf properties and to make the Waqf board a representative of the Muslim community," said Zafaryab Jilani, member of the executive committee.
Quraishi said that The Waqf (Amendment) Bill, 2010 may be introduced with amendments in the Monsoon session of Parliament. Sachar committee has recommended that Waqf should be declared public premises, which implies that if there is any encroachment then it would be responsibility of the district administration to clear it, he said. Accusing central government of not accepting the suggestions made by the AIMPLB, he demanded that survey of Waqf properties should start from the date of Independence instead of the date of enforcement as provided in the present Bill. Quraishi said that even the Supreme Court has said that "once a Waqf property always a Waqf property." He said that the Bill says that if Waqf is not registered then it would have no right of seeking judicial remedy. "It is a democracy and there is rule of law. Right of judicial remedy is being taken away, “he alleged. He said that the AIMPLB has decided to launch a campaign against the Waqf Bill in present form after the Ramzan month.
Expressing deep concern over the manner in which CBI is prosecuting Babri Masjid case in Rae Bareli's special court, the AIMPLB members said that the Board feels that the agency does not appear to be serious to ensure severe punishment to all the accused in the case. They said that members were of the view that the statements of the secular people related with the case are not being presented before the court in a proper manner.
In response to a query regarding diktats issued by khap panchayats particularly the one recently given by a panchayat (that asked women under 40 not to go to markets or crowded places, use cell phones and discouraged love marriages) in Baghpat, Quraishi said, "Everyone knows how seriously people take these decisions."