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Muslim father finds humanity among Durga Puja organisers

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New Delhi: Amidst misguided efforts to drive a communal wedge in Indian society, a Muslim father seeking urgent financial aid for the treatment of his seven-year-old thalassemic daughter was pleasantly surprised when his appeal found positive response among several Durga Puja committees in the capital – his plea raising more than Rs 23,000 through which his daughter’s treatment is now possible.

“I approached Durga Puja committees in several south Delhi localities for financial assistance after my entreaties to mosque elders fell on deaf ears… I was always told to come later but no assistance was forthcoming,” Munsi Nazibul, a craftsman from West Bengal, who works in an embroidery unit in South Delhi.

Nazibul’s daughter is recovering but needs a bone marrow transplant to completely eliminate the blood disorder.

“My appeal to the committees gave me a pleasant surprise in that I was able to collect more than Rs 23,000 towards treatment of my ailing daughter who needs a bone marrow transplant,” Nazibul said.

While the media highlights conflicts and polarisation between Hindus and Muslims, fuelled by political elements and religious zealots on both sides, Nazibul said religion did not matter when it came to helping one another and this has always been so in this country at the people level.

“I might be a Muslim, but I will never turn away a person in need because of his religion and this is the exact treatment that I received while I was asking for the donations from the puja committees who are all Hindus,” he added.

Samir Banerjee, General Secretary of Durgostav, Greater Kailash II, who gave Nazibul a donation of Rs 10,000, praised him for his confidence to come to Hindu festival organisers for donation.

“Before he asked for the money, the first thing he said was ‘I am a Muslim’, and we asked, ‘What difference does that make,” he said.

According to Banerjee, Nazibul approached the Durga Puja committees because he felt that they would respond to his plea on humanitarian grounds without making religion an issue.

Nazibul received the same treatment at every Puja committee he approached, his appeal was heard by all, he said, without anyone questioning his religion or turning him away because of his Muslim faith.

“Religion should never come in between humanity. Turning away a person in need is a bigger sin,” Banerjee added.

(Karishma Kalita, IANS)

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For Plea Against Polygamy Supreme Court Takes Centre’s Response

personal laws must meet the test of constitutional validity and constitutional morality

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought a response from the Centre on a fresh plea that challenged the constitutional validity of the practice of polygamy and ‘nikah halala’ among Muslims in India.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought a response from the Centre on a fresh plea that challenged the constitutional validity of the practice of polygamy and ‘nikah halala’ among Muslims in India. Flickr

The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought a response from the Centre on a fresh plea that challenged the constitutional validity of the practice of polygamy and ‘nikah halala’ among Muslims in India.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud issued the notice to the Centre and tagged the plea with similar petitions pending before it.

The fresh plea filed by Women Resistance Committee Chairperson Nazia Ilahi Khan, a practicing advocate at the Calcutta High Court, has challenged the practice of polygamy, ‘nikah halala’, ‘nikah mutah’ (temporary marriage among Shias) and ‘nikah misyar’ (short-term marriage among Sunnis) on the grounds that these were violative of the Constitution’s Articles 14, 15 and 21.

Under ‘nikah halala’, if a Muslim woman after divorce by her husband three times on different instances, wants to go back to him, she has to marry another person and then divorce the second husband to get re-married to her first husband.

“Declare the dissolution of the Muslim Marriages Act, 1939 unconstitutional and violative of Articles 14, 15, 21 and 25 of the Constitution in so far as it fails to secure for the Indian Muslim women the protection from bigamy which has been statutorily secured for Indian women from other religions,” said her plea filed through advocate V.K. Biju.

The apex court has been hearing pleas filed by Sameena Begum, Nafisa Khan, Moullium Mohsin and BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay on the issue.

Article 14 guarantees equality before law, Article 15 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth and Article 21 guarantees protection of life and personal liberty.

Telling the court that though different religious communities are governed by different personal laws, Upadhyay had contended that “personal laws must meet the test of constitutional validity and constitutional morality in as much as they cannot be violative of Articles 14, 15, and 21”.

Pointing to the “appalling” affect of polygamy and other such practices on the Muslim women, senior counsel Mohan Parasaran had earlier told the apex court that the 2017 judgment holding instant ‘triple talaq’ as unconstitutional had left these two issues open and did not address them.

Polygamy, Man along with his 5 wives
Polygamy, Man along with his 5 wives. Flickr

A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by then Chief Justice J.S. Khehar (since retired), by a majority judgment in 2017, had said: “Keeping in view the factual aspect in the present case, as also the complicated questions that arise for consideration in this case (and, in the other connected cases), at the very outset, it was decided to limit the instant consideration to ‘talaq-e-biddat’ or triple talaq.

Also read: Goa Common Civil Code forbids neither Oral Divorce nor Polygamy among Muslims: Governor

“Other questions raised in the connected writ petitions, such as polygamy and ‘nikah halala’ (and other allied matters), would be dealt with separately. The determination of the present controversy may, however, coincidentally render an answer even to the connected issues.” (IANS)