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Report No. 211

B. The kazis Act 1880

There is an old central law called the kazis Act 1880 empowering State governments to appoint kazis for the purpose of helping desiring local Muslims with solemnization of marriages, etc. The Government in British India had inherited the power to appoint kazis from the Mughal rulers but had abdicated it in 1864. On the demand of Muslim leadership led by the great Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the power was resumed by enacting the kazis Act 1880.

Under this Act kazis may be appointed by a State Government for various areas under its control. A kazi can also be removed by the appointing authority on the grounds of misconduct, long absence, insolvency or incapability (Section 2). The Act, now in force in most States, makes it clear that presence of a Stateappointed kazi will not be mandatory for any marriage (Section 4).

The central kazis Act does not till now apply to private kazis and contains no provision relating to kazis' function of preparing and preserving records of marriages.

In Maharashtra, however, the Act was amended in 1980 to make it applicable also to private kazis and require all kazis - private and State-appointed - to maintain proper records of marriages which they may be invited to solemnize.



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