With new marriage rules, deserted woman takes on husband

March 21st, 2008 - 4:48 pm ICT by admin  

Lucknow, March 21 (IANS) A 33-year-old Muslim woman here has registered a police case against her husband who abandoned her a decade ago, thanks to the new nikahnama (marriage rules) introduced by the All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board last week. Taking a cue from the “truly informative” nikahnama, Shamim Bano approached the police Thursday to register a case against her husband who had left her a decade ago because he wanted more dowry from her. He had also started living with another woman.

“Without giving me talaq (divorce), my husband just deserted me six months after marriage and married another woman without bothering to give me any maintenance,” Bano told reporters Friday.

“Thanks to a copy of the new nikahnama I procured from the women’s law board president Shaista Ambar, I realised that I could take on my husband who had actually betrayed me in violation of the provisions of the Shariat (Muslim religious law),” she said.

The new nikahnama lays down specific conditions under which men can divorce their wives and stresses that one cannot desert one’s wife without divorcing her properly.

It explicitly bars men from declaring talaq in a fit of anger, intoxication or partial intoxication or partial sleep or even by phone, SMS or Internet. It also entitles women to claim maintenance.

The model nikahnama aims at providing Muslim women protection from undue oppression by their husbands, spells out the wife’s legitimate rights, granted under the Shariat, as also the duties of both husband and wife. It emphasises the importance of marriage and discourages divorce.

But it was only after Ambar intervened that the police agreed to register Bano’s complaint against her husband Siraj Ahmad under the anti-dowry act.

Ambar said: “Bano’s husband had started harassing her barely six months after their marriage in 1998. He started raising demand for dowry from Bano’s parents and when they expressed their inability to meet his demand, he simply called her brother to take her away.”

She added: “Bano was told that she would be welcome back only if she could fulfil his demand for a Maruti car or money in lieu.”

“I am very hopeful that I will get justice. All these years I had just given up thinking that a woman had no rights under the Shariat,” Bano pointed out.

Ambar, meanwhile, claims that she has “received several queries from abandoned Muslim women over the past few days since we released copies of the new nikahnama that aims to enlighten and empower women about their legitimate rights well within the parameters of the Shariat”.

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