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Certificates issued by kazi on talaq are only an opinion and not legally valid: Madras HC

  • The bench, comprising Chief Justice S K Kaul and Justice M M Sundresh, on Wednesday gave a ruling stating that a certificate issued by the chief kazi on talaq is only an opinion and has no legal validity. The said judgment was passed on a PIL filed by advocate and former AIADMK legislator Bader Sayeed . Later, others including Women Lawyers Association (WLA) of Madras high court impleaded themselves in the petition.
     
    The Madras high court restrained the kazis from issuing any such certificates until the Muslim Personal Law Board deliberates the matter. Wanting an end to the triple talaq, advocate Sayeed argued that the certificates were issued arbitrarily, without a legal framework.
     
    The first bench said according to Section 4 of the Kazi Act, 1880, any person appointed as the kazi or naib kazi did not have any judicial or administrative power. The kazi's presence in the celebration or performance of marriage rites was also not indispensable.
     
    Counsels for the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and Shariath Defence Forum argued that as the chief kazi had expertise of Shariat law, and that he was issuing certificates pertaining to triple talaq. These certificates, however, were issued "only as opinion." The counsels said according to Muslim Shariat Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, all matters pertaining to various subjects including marriage, dissolution of marriage and talaq were under the ambit of Muslim Personal Law.
     
    Following this the counsels for Sayeed, WLA and others said the nature of certificates, which were being issued by the chief kazi was causing "immense confusion in matrimonial proceedings."

    After the certificate was issued, neither the husband nor the wife was aware of its implications. Submitting some triple talaq certificates from 1997 to 2015 before the court, the counsels said the certificates merely said that on a representation of the spouse, on a particular day, the talaq pronounced was valid according to Islamic Shariat. The certificate did not say that the approval of the divorce was his personal opinion, nor did it record the reasons for grant of divorce.
     
    The Board said it was willing to examine the format in which a certificate may be issued purely as an opinion of the chief kazi having expertise on shariat law so as to ensure no ambiguity before any legal forum or otherwise. The bench granted time to the Board to formulate the format and place a draft before it so that inputs from other stakeholders are made available.
     

    OUR TAKE

    India does not have a common code dealing with divorce. Divorce is administered in accordance with the personal laws of the citizens still it is advisable to discourage practices which have no legal sanctity.  Thus the decision of the court barring qazis from issuing divorce certificates is appropriate and was much needed step to stop all the confusion and chaos.


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