Report No. 270
b. The Kazis Act 1880
3.5 Marriages among the Indian Muslims are solemnised by religious officials known as the "kazi". The Act empowers State governments to appoint kazis for the purpose of assisting Muslims with solemnisation of marriages, etc. Section 4 of the Act makes it clear that presence of a State appointed kazi will not be mandatory for any marriage. Before, or immediately after, the "nikah" ceremony the kazi prepares a nikah-nama (agreement containing all terms of contract of marriage) which gives full details of the parties and is signed by both of them, and by two witnesses. The kazi authenticates the "nikah-nama" by putting his signature and seal on it. Printed forms of standard nikah-nama are stocked by all kazis who fill in it the details of the marriages they solemnize, issue copies to both parties, and preserve a copy in their records. These can serve as proof of marriage for the purpose of registration of Muslim marriages.