Could a lady register a Muslim marriage?

A new choice of the High Court Division (HCD) announcing that ladies can't go about as nikah/marriage enlistment centers in Muslim relationships was exposed to extensive investigation. There was a writ appeal testing the legitimacy of a choice of the law service dropping a board of chose nikah recorders (or regularly known as "kazi") for Dinajpur's Phulbari region. The explanation appeared for abrogation was that each of the three chose competitors were ladies and "in the current real factors of Bangladesh, ladies couldn't be designated as nikah enlistment centers". One of the chose specialists had recorded the appeal, which was ultimately dismissed by the HCD. 

It is to be noticed that not at all like different religions, a Muslim marriage isn't considered as a strict ceremony however is in the idea of a common agreement (as reflected in most of Islamic legitimate writings). Consequently, Islamic law just requires offer and acknowledgment between lawfully fit gatherings within the sight of two skillful observers. Notwithstanding, in Bangladesh we follow certain strict and social services to solemnize a marriage—for instance, recounting from the sacred Quran just as following some other social ceremonies. Albeit such customs are generally rehearsed, marriage without such ceremonies is as yet legitimate in Muslim law. 

Essentially, enrollment isn't a prerequisite recommended by Muslim law for getting a legitimate marriage. It was the Bengal Muhammadan Marriages and Divorces Registration Act, 1876 that originally accommodated deliberate enlistment of Muslim relationships and separations in the Indian subcontinent. The law made public workplaces of marriage enrolls just to record Muslim relationships and separations in government endorsed register books. It expected gatherings to apply for enlistment inside one month of the marriage and separation being affected, obviously showing subsequently that a substantial marriage had just occurred without enrollment. 

During the Pakistan time frame, the issue of enlistment of Muslim relationships was again uncovered when the Muslim Family Law Ordinance 1961 (MFLO) was instituted. The MFLO was a consequence of the suggestions made by the Commission on Marriage and Family Laws that was framed in 1956. The reason for the Commission and the law was to secure and improve the privileges of Muslim ladies. Albeit a few offices for willful enrollment were available under the 1876 Act, the MFLO in segment 5 accommodated mandatory enlistment of relationships solemnized under Muslim law and endorsed discipline for resistance. Mandatory enrollment was suggested by the Commission as nonappearance of any narrative proof of a marriage made confirmation of the marriage troublesome, which in the long run made difficulties Muslim wedded ladies in guaranteeing rights to dower, support, legacy, and so on 

Later in autonomous Bangladesh, a different resolution was acquired 1974 for enrollment of Muslim relationships and separations, which expounded the current arrangements on marriage enlistment. Henceforth, area 5 of the MFLO was canceled by the 1974 Act, while the remainder of the arrangements of the MFLO are as yet in power in Bangladesh. Accordingly while "solemnisation" of a Muslim marriage is an issue or strict customs and services, "enrollment" is absolutely a matter of legal law not being essential for the strict solutions. 

The HCD, in dismissing the request, had chiefly depended on two grounds. Right off the bat, the undertaking of marriage enlistment had been viewed as a troublesome and fairly unfeasible occupation for ladies as it requires going in distant regions, frequently "around evening time" and may likewise infrequently include "crossing streams and channels through boats". Beside the way that the nation over, a large number of ladies are effectively utilized in positions requiring equivalent or higher versatility, it is maybe just suitable that the choice regarding whether a lady is prepared to take up the difficulties of the work of a nikah enlistment center, is left to her own decision without attracting suppositions for all ladies general. 

Furthermore, in legitimizing arrangement of just men as nikah recorders, the court recognized marriage enlistment centers' part from other public workplaces holding that "the essential job and obligation of a nikah enlistment center is to solemnize the marriage between Muslim couples". Nonetheless, as talked about, solemnisation of marriage was never considered to be inside the obligation of the nikah recorders under the 1974 Act. Since the law requires the recorders to hold an Alim Certificate from a perceived madrassa, a typical practice had built up that the nikah enlistment centers lead the strict customs of wedding functions too. In any case, it is likewise normal that a nikah enlistment center would send his office aides to solemnize a marriage, or that the gatherings had just solemnized the marriage and went to the nikah recorder thereafter for enrollment. Truth be told, the 1974 Act and its 2009 Rules had likewise obviously shown such prospects by giving that when the marriage is solemnized by the nikah enlistment center it will be enrolled immediately, however when it is solemnized by some other individual, the gatherings need to enlist the marriage with the nikah recorder inside a specific period from the date of solemnisation. 

The HCD additionally held the view that during feminine cycle, a lady isn't permitted to enter a mosque where obviously large numbers of the relationships presently happen. Period in that capacity, was considered as a "actual preclusion" for ladies in being delegated as nikah recorders. Nonetheless, since solemnisation of a marriage is definitely not a legitimate obligation of the enlistment centers and should be possible through different people, a lady recorder can basically decide not to play out any strict customs on the off chance that she thinks that its fundamental and can get the marriage solemnized through a nearby mosque's Imam or any of her office associates during period. Period in this way can't be an inquiry to be pertinently posed to while naming a nikah enlistment center whose obligation, even as the prelude of the 1974 Act portrays, is just to "register Muslim relationships and separations". 

Our Constitution ensures balance under the watchful eye of the law and secures against segregation based on sexual orientation. We accept that our peak court would keep maintaining those sacred certifications and guide our endeavors in guaranteeing equivalent status for ladies towards a more reformist way. 

Taslima Yasmin instructs at the Department of Law of the University of Dhaka. Email: