The Wakf Estate of Prince Golam Mohammed that takes care of the Tipu Sultan mosque in Kolkata has decided to take legal action against the former Imam of Tipu Sultan mosque at Esplanade, Syed Mohammad Nurur Rahman Barkati, for allegedly registering marriages of couples in an illegally way.
“The marriage register which he maintained at his office is not legal because under normal circumstances, after the nuptials, that paper is supposed to be taken to the court for registration. Following this, a separate marriage certificate is issued. Barkati never followed this rule and even now, after he has been expelled, he has opened an office in the Chandni Chowk area and is engaging in same activities. The marriages conducted therefore are illegal,” alleged Shahzada Anwar Ali, the patron manager of the trustee board adding that the board will take action after recommendations made by their legal team.
“Not just that, an Imam of a mosque is supposed to lead the namaaz. He is not entitled to hold any other power and certainly can’t conduct marriages which is done by a Kazi. This Imam was just trying to make as much money as he could,” Anwar Ali added.
He said that the board has received several complaints from couples who had been married by Barkati while he was the imam. “One person complained that the passport office would not accept the marriage certificate issued by Barkati to add his spouse’s name to his passport. In another case, a girl who got divorced complained that she was refused any maintenance by her estranged husband because she could not prove that it was a legal marriage. There can be many legal implications of the Imam’s actions. In case of a divorce or a marital dispute, the matter cannot be solved in the absence of legal documents. The Shariyat law says desh ka kanoon maanke chalna chahiye (you should follow the law of the land), not that anyone can do whatever they want in the name of Shariyat,” Anwar Ali said.
When contacted by The Sunday Express, Imam Barkati said, “I have not been told about this issue at all. Nobody has informed me.”
Imam Barkati, once considered close to the ruling TMC, was removed by the board in 2017. “He used to make political statements, be involved in politics. That is not the work of an Imam. He would project himself as a Muslim leader which he is not. He used to hold press conferences at the Tipu Sultan Masjid. The masjid is a place of worship, not a place to carry out his personal activities,” Anwar Ali added.
Earlier this year, in interviews to several media houses Imam Barkati had claimed that he could swing the Muslim vote in West Bengal in favour of the BJP on the payment of adequate compensation.