Monday, 3 September 2007

Toothless Qazi Act gives advantage to unscrupulous qazis in India

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Sept 3: Unscrupulous Qazis in the State have always taken advantage of the toothless Qazi Act, framed by the erstwhile British regime 125 years ago, to perform the marriage of young Muslim girls with old Arab nationals.
Since there has been no amendment to the Qazi Act 1880 in any of the States in the country, unscrupulous Qazis in many places, particularly Hyderabad, simply make a mockery of all established rules by resorting to malpractice during the Nikah. The State Wakf Board does not have any control whatsoever on the functioning of Qazis as the Qazi Act, framed long before the Wakf Board came into existence, is silent on the powers of the Board.
Qazis in twin cities also take shelter under a firman (order) issued by the erstwhile Nizam government making the Qazi system hereditary, though such a practice is against the principles of Islamic law (Shariah). In the absence of a proper regulatory or supervisory body, many Qazis have evolved their own system of performing marriages. They have also appointed their deputies or authorised anyone they like to perform the marriage.
If Arab marriages have become rampant in the city, the blame squarely lies with the Qazis who want to make quick money.
Says AP Wakf Board special officer Syed Anwarul Huda, "the board cannot take any disciplinary action against erring Qazis as it is not their appointing or regulating authority. Some Qazis have even challenged the authority of the Board in AP High Court." The Board simply supplies marriage forms to Qazis and issue marriage certificates to couples seeking jobs abroad.
In fact, a draft Qazi Bill was moved in Parliament way back in 1989 by then Congress MP Moulana Asad Madani, who also heads the All-India Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind. Neither the Central government nor the State government pursued the matter further even after the emergence of "human bazar" in Hyderabad.
The Qazi Bill seeks to fix the term of Qazis for five years doing away with the present hereditary system. The State government or the Wakf Board will have all powers to appoint or remove the Qazis. While there will be a chief (Sadr) Qazi at the State level, there will be deputy Qazis in districts. It also suggests a board of Ulema to clear the candidature of the chief Qazi and his deputies.
"We have now taken up the issue with the Central government. We have written to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and AICC chief Sonia Gandhi to pursue to Qazi Bill and ensure that it is passed without further delay," State Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind chief Hafiz Peer Shabbir Ahmad pointed out.

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