POST TIME: 26 August, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Replace ‘kumari’ with ‘unmarried’ in marriage deed: HC

Replace ‘kumari’ with ‘unmarried’ in marriage deed: HC

The High Court yesterday directed the government to exclude the word ‘kumari’ (virgin) from the Muslim marriage registration form (nikahnama) before the name of groom and replace it with the word ‘unmarried, widower or divorced’. The word ‘kumari’ cannot be used in kabinnama, and the word ‘unmarried’ has to be used in place of ‘kumari’, the HC said, adding that the words -- unmarried, widower or divorced -- have to be mentioned before the name of the bridegroom in the kabinnama.

The HC bench comprising Justice Naima Haider and Justice Khizir Ahmed Choudhury came up with the order in response to a writ petition filed jointly by Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), Naripakkha, and Bangladesh Mahila Parishad. The organisations has filed the petition with the High Court in 2014 challenging the legality of column five of the kabinnama form which includes the word ‘kumari, widower and divorced” before the name of the bride. In the petition, the petitioners said the provision of column five of kabinnama is contradictory to the right to privacy and is also discriminatory.

The petitioners alleged that the provision of Clause 5 perpetuated discrimination between women and men and resulted in violation of the Constitution.

After brief hearing on the petition, the then HC bench of Justice Naima Haider and Justice Md Jahangir Hossain had on September 14, 2014 issued a rule asking the government to explain why the provision of Clause 5 in the marriage registration form should not be declared illegal.

The High Court also asked the government to include Clause 4 (A) in the form, which will stipulate the marital status of a groom, stating ‘married, widower or divorcee’. In the marriage registration form under the Muslim Marriages and Divorces (Registration) Act 1974, Clause 5 requires the bride to make a statement regarding her marital status and sexual history, specifically stating whether she is a virgin or widowed or divorced. After final hearing on the rule, the HC bench yesterday came up with the order.

Advocate ZI Khan Panna, accompanied by Advocate Ainun Nahar Lipi, represented the writ petitioners while Advocate Israt Hasan stood for a supplementary petition over the same matter.