Qazis cannot grant divorces: Hyderabad Muslim intelligentsia

Hyderabad: Amidst recent controversies over “triple talaq” cases reported in the city, Muslim intelligentsia claim that the Qazi Act, 1880, does not empower qazis to grant divorces. They point out that the Act states that a qazi can solemnise the marriage of Muslims, but it doesn’t speak about granting divorces or settling matrimonial disputes.

DC has quoted S.M. Abdul Qadeer, an eminent writer, as saying “In India, the role of a qazi is merely to solemnise marriages and maintaining a record,” However he said, some qazis take an exorbitant fee and facilitate the talaq. He lamented that they harass couples and also force women to take khula on the husband’s instructions, since this would help them avoid paying maintenance.

Senior police officers revealed that there have been several instances of qazis cheating minor girls by taking their signatures on divorce papers at the time of marriage itself.

DCP (south zone) V. Satyanarayana said that the police has alerted the Minorities’ Welfare Department about the problems.

Meanwhile, aiming at ending contract marriages and ensuring divorcing granted in accordance with the Shariah, the Minorities Welfare Department has drafted amendments to the Qazis Act, 1880, after consultations with religious scholars, eminent lawyers, women scholars and prominent social activists in the community.

Syed Omer Jaleel, special secretary, Minorities’ Welfare Department, said that the amendments, if implemented, could help end discrepancies in the existing system.