Madurai

Court rescues Muslim girl from being branded as “illegitimate” child

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Says, children born out of curable irregular marriages cannot be termed so

The Madras High Court has come to the rescue of a young Muslim girl who was branded by a Jamath as an “illegitimate” child because her father had married two sisters one after the other despite a specific prohibition under the Mohammedan law.

Dismissing a civil revision petition filed by the president of the Jamath in Nagercoil, Justice S. Palanivelu held that the act committed by the girl’s father was only a curable irregularity and therefore the children born out of such marriage could not be called as illegitimate.

A. Sohail Ahmed (name changed) was a member of the Mahan Tulkasha Olliyullah Darga Vadaseri Kuthba Pallivasal in Nagercoil. As per Mohammedan law, an individual is not supposed to marry the sister of his first wife during her life time without giving Talaq (divorce). But Ahmed lived with both the sisters and had five children through the first wife and two daughters through the second.

In 1997, he filed a civil suit before the Principal Munsif Court at Nagercoil challenging his extermination from the Jamath. Even as the case was pending, a compromise was reached between him and the new office bearers of the Jamath in May 2006.

In February this year, he applied for a No Objection Certificate from the Jamath to give the girl born out of his second marriage to a groom based in Chennai. But the Jamath’s president refused to issue the NOC, a prerequisite for conducting Muslim marriages.

The president relied upon an opinion expressed by the State government’s Chief Quazi for Kanyakumari district that Ahmed’s second marriage and the consequent paternal relationship with the children born through that marriage were illegal and non-exist in the eye of Mohammedan law.

The Quazi also held that the only solution available to the girl was to make a representation to the Jamath claiming to be an orphan.

Not in agreement with the opinion expressed by the Chief Quazi, the judge directed the Jamath to issue a No Objection Certificate forthwith to Ahmed so that he could conduct her marriage without any hitch in the lawful capacity of being her father.

The judge said that there was a difference between a ‘void marriage’ and an ‘irregular marriage’ under Mohammedan law. The act committed by Ahmed would fall only under the second category and hence the children born out of such marriage could not be termed illegitimate.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 1:29:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/court-rescues-muslim-girl-from-being-branded-as-illegitimate-child/article3792871.ece

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