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Shariat councils are not courts, their certificates are not valid, Muslim women go to family courts for divorce: Madras High Court


Madras High Court said – Divorce certificate issued by Shariat Council is not valid.
Muslim women desiring a valid divorce from the High Court are advised to approach the Family Court only.
The Madras High Court said that a Muslim woman is free to seek divorce through ‘khula’.

Chennai. The Madras High Court on Tuesday made it clear in a judgment that Shariat councils are neither courts nor arbitrators authorized to annul a marriage. Therefore, the High Court advised Muslim women desiring a legally valid divorce to approach only the family courts. In 2017, Justice C. Saravanan of the Madras High Court set aside a certificate of divorce issued by a Shariat council, saying that ‘even if a Muslim woman is recognized under the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Act’ The recipient is free to exercise his rights to seek divorce through ‘khula’, but this can be done only through a family court.’

Madras High Court judge C. Saravanan directed the wife of a man who filed the petition to approach the Tamil Nadu Legal Services Authority or a family court for a legal divorce of their marriage, according to a Times of India report. Get in touch Justice Saravanan said that even under customary law, a certificate of divorce cannot be issued by a self-proclaimed body consisting of a few members of the ‘Jamaat’. In his petition, the husband had argued that orders from outside the judicial system such as fatwas or ‘khula’ certificates have no legal validity and cannot be enforced by any individual or ‘private’ entity.

Muslim women also have the right to reverse divorce, Kerala High Court upheld

While opposing the petition in the Madras High Court, the local Shariat Council argued that the Kerala High Court had upheld the practice while hearing a similar case. In response, Justice Saravanan rejected the argument by saying that the Kerala High Court judgment upheld the right of a Muslim woman to divorce unilaterally only through ‘khula’. The Kerala High Court has not supported the involvement of private bodies like the Shariat Council. He clearly said that private body like Shariat Council cannot issue certificate of divorce through ‘khula’. The High Court said that under Section 7(1)(b) of the Family Court Act, the Muslim Marriage Dissolution Act and the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat), only the Family Court has the right to dissolve a marriage.

Tags: Divorce, madras high court, Muslim Marriage, Muslim Woman

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