It was only a few days ago that Women Board and Sunni Ulma Council gave the approval to open Women Darul Kaza or Sharia Court
Even as All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) decision to open Sharia Courts across country to solve their religious matters stoked a major controversy, Muslim women in Kanpur district of Uttar Pradesh dared the male-dominated Muslim world by setting up India’s first Muslim Women Darul Qaza, known as ‘Darul Qaza Khawateen Court’, to provide relief to victims of instant triple talaq and Nikah-Halala.
The initiative to set-up country’s first all Muslim women court was taken by the India’s first Sunni sect Shahar Quazi Hina Zaheer and Shia Shahar Qazi Maria Fazal. Their appointment was vehemently opposed by the Muslims in large numbers two years ago. But the two fought and remained ensconced on the coveted posts.
“The idea of setting up India’s first Darul Qaza Khawateen Court came to our mind after we saw sudden spurt in instant triple talaq cases and victimization of Muslim women by their husbands and family members against the Sharia and Islamic laws,” said Hina Zaheer.
She claimed that the court would be chaired by only prominent Muslim women having good knowledge about Sharia, Quran, Hadis and Islamic laws. “Only Muslim women are allowed to file cases in the Women Darul Qaza, exclusively set-up to take up their disputes related to their marriages,” said Maria Fazal.
She pointed that it opened a floodgate allowing the court and the government to interfere in issues pertaining to the Muslim community. “If we had addressed the issues plaguing Muslim women, there was no need for the Supreme Court and the Central government to interfere in our religious and personal matters,” pointed she.
But before daring to set-up India’s first Darul Qaza Khawateen Court in Kanpur, both the Shahr Qazi sought permission from the All-India Khawateen Board and Sunni Ulema Council. “Once they gave a go ahead, we opened up the court at Nawab Compound on Mall Road in Kanpur to make a new beginning for Muslim women in the city,” said Zaheer.
The court will function purely as per Sharia and Islamic laws and the disputes related to marital discord and religious matters would be settle in the light of the Islamic laws as envisaged by prophet Mohammad, they claimed.
The concept of Darul Qaza Courts is not new in India. In Uttar Pradesh alone they are functioning in as many as 44 districts. But a new twist of was added to stoke a countrywide row by right-wing forces when Qazi Courts were renamed as Shari Court after the Muslim Board announced to open more Qazi Courts across country.
Like Khap Panchayats Qazi Courts also do not have any constitutional sanction but even the Supreme Court of India had allowed them to function in solving Muslim community’s religious and personal issues amicably with the consent of the parties involved in the dispute. Darul Qaza Courts could not become popular as they are all chaired by males where relief to aggrieved Muslim women does not come easily. Cases go on for years and in most of the cases women are forced to reach a compromise in cases of marital discord in the name of justice.
It was one of the main reasons that Muslim women preferred to go to the civil or higher courts than to seek justice from Darul Qaza Courts. “Our main aim is instill confidence among Muslim women by attending their grievances through quick redressal,” said Zaheer.
After seeing the response of India’s first all-women Darul Qaza, the two Shahr Qazi plans to open more such courts across country to get justice to the aggrieved Muslim women.
“It is a welcome step. We will give our full support to the first Muslim women court. But the question is how to ensure that its orders are respected and followed by the party who loses the case,” said Shahista Amber, the Chairperson, All-India Shia Muslim Women Personal Law Board.
The instant triple talaq crusader and founder of Hazrat Aala Helping Society Nida Khan said the first all Muslim women court will provide a platform for the victims to raise their voices. “Majority of Muslim women wrap the atrocities and their torture by husbands and family members under their veil. This will give them a platform to raise their voices against the injustice. Most importantly, their instant triple talaq and Nikah-Halal ordeal would be highlighted through the new court,” said Khan.
Farhat Naqvi, sister of the Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and founder of NGO ‘Mera Haq’ also hailed setting of Darul Qaza Khawateen. “I would suggest to open more such courts across country to ensure equal rights to Muslim women as envisaged in the Sharia,” said she.
The AIMPLB is keeping a studied silence on setting up of Darul Qaza Khawateen. However, a senior Board member and Chairman of Indian Islamic Centre Maulana Abdu Rashid Farangi Mahali said that any Muslim body which resolves the personal and religious issues of community members in the light of the Islamoc laws and Sharia should be encouraged and welcomed as it will reduce the interference of others into community matters.
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