SP MP asserts Muslims will adhere to Shariat amid Himanta’s law repeal move

| Updated: 24 February, 2024 2:30 pm IST
SP MP from Moradabad ST Hasan (Image source: X)

NEW DELHI: In response to the Assam government’s decision to abolish the Assam Muslim Marriages and Divorces Registration Act, Samajwadi Party (SP) MP ST Hasan stated on Saturday that Muslims will adhere solely to the teachings of Shariat and the Quran.

“There is no need to highlight this so much. Muslims will follow Shariat and Quran. They (the government) may draft as many Acts as they want…Every religion has its own rituals. They are being followed for thousands of years now. They will continue to be followed,” he told ANI.

Congress leader Abdur Rashid Mandal labelled it as an “unfair decision.”

He said, “Overall it is a discriminatory decision of the cabinet of Assam because the govt was talking about the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) and banning polygamy but they failed to do so (bringing the UCC and banning polygamy) for unknown reasons.

“Just before the election, they’re trying to polarise the Hindu voters in favour of BJP by depriving and discriminating Muslims in some fields like repealing this act saying that this is a pre-independence act, and citing child marriage which is not a fact.

“This is the only mechanism to register the marriages of Muslims and there is no other scope or institution and it is also as per the constitution of India. It is the personal law of the Muslim that can’t be repealed. I’ll discuss it with the leaders of my party and my party will speak about it.”

Meanwhile, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) MLA Hafiz Rafiqul Islam remarked that the Assam government led by Himanta Biswa Sarma lacks the boldness to implement a UCC in a state similar to that of Uttarakhand.

“This government doesn’t have the courage to bring UCC. They can’t do it. What they brought in Uttarakhand, is not UCC either…They were trying to bring UCC to Assam too. But I think they can’t bring it to Assam because there are people from several castes and communities here…BJP followers themselves follow those practices here,” he told ANI.

He stated that the BJP government is resorting to these strategies due to the nearing elections. “With the elections drawing near, this is merely a ploy to single out Muslims. Consequently, as they have been unable to introduce any legislation regarding polygamy or a UCC in Assam.

“Hence, they are opting to annul the Assam Muslim Marriages & Divorces Registration Act. The Assam cabinet lacks the authority to revoke or modify a constitutional entitlement,” he elaborated.

What is Assam Muslim Marriages and Divorces Registration Act?

The Assam cabinet approved the repeal of this legislation on Friday, which dates back to the British Raj era.

“The Act included provisions that permitted marriage registration even if the bride and groom had not attained the legally required ages of 18 and 21, respectively. This decision represents another noteworthy stride towards curbing underage marriages in Assam,” the Chief Minister shared on X platform.

Following the repeal of this law, custody of the registration records held by 94 Muslim marriage registrars will be transferred to the district authorities.

The legislation grants Muslim registrars the power to record voluntary declarations of marriages and divorces.

Following the repeal of this law, custody of the registration records held by 94 Muslim marriage registrars will be transferred to the district authorities.

According to media reports, the Act does not mandate the registration of marriages and divorces, and the registration process itself is informal, allowing significant room for non-compliance with existing regulations.

Earlier this month, the Uttarakhand government successfully passed the UCC bill in the state Assembly. This legislation aims to replace individual religious laws pertaining to marriage, divorce, and inheritance with a uniform set of regulations applicable to all religions without bias. However, various Muslim organisations noted that the legislation exempted tribal communities from its purview.

Sarma has pledged that Assam will become the third state, following Uttarakhand and Gujarat, to enforce the UCC. In January, he stated that it would take approximately two to three months to introduce the bill. Additionally, he expressed his intention to exclude tribal communities from the scope of the proposed legislation.

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