The Madras High Court has dismissed an appeal by a woman seeking to set aside the ‘forged’ ‘khula’ produced by her husband on the basis of which a cleric granted a fatwa dissolving the marriage.
S Basheria submitted she was married to T C A Mohamed Yusuf, a beef merchant on August 20, 1987 as per Islamic customary rites and practice and the marriage was duly recorded in the Nikah register of a local mosque.
According to Basheria, a mother of three, her husband had obtained divorce through an authoritative verdict (fatwa) from the Government Chief Kazi, by showing a fake ‘Khulanama’ dated June 9, 2006, allegedly written by her. He subsequently married another woman.
In 2007, when Basheria approached the HC seeking to call for records from the Government Chief Kazi in connection with the divorce granted based on the ‘Khulanama’ and to pay a compensation of Rs. 7 lakh, a single judge of the court dismissed the plea pointing out that a case of forgery was pending before a trial court. Hence, the court was not inclined to entertain the writ petition.
“The rights of the petitioner are relegated to be renewed after the conclusion of the criminal trial. At this stage, the writ petition is premature and no relief can be given to the petitioner,” the single judge said.
The Khazi, who is the chief of Muslims in their religious affairs, has no powers to dissolve marriages of Muslims, the Chief Khazi of the State informed the Madras High Court.
While concurring with the order of single judge, the bench said, “For the very allegations made by the appellants criminal proceedings have already been initiated and the same are pending before the criminal court. The veracity or otherwise of the allegations can be gone into by the criminal court after following the due process of law.”
“The fact also remains that the criminal proceedings and the claim with regard to the relief sought in the writ petition are independent of each other. The allegations made by the appellants are disputed questions of fact.”