In a case similar to the tragic Gudiya episode, a community panchayat has directed a woman to return to her first husband, who was missing for the last 14 years and appeared just a week after she had remarried to claim her as his wife in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut district.
The panchayat, convened on Tuesday in Kulganj village, supported the claim of Abid that he had not yet divorced Shabana and she was still his wife. Abid had married Shabana 17 years ago. After three years of marriage, Abid went missing and returned early this month after 14 years, just a week after Shabana had remarried.
However, renowned Islamic seminary Darul-Uloom Deoband said the case should be referred to a Shariat court. "A married woman can seek a divorce from her missing husband in Shariat Court to marry another man, so both the parties should approach the Shariat Court and decide her future," Mufti Ahsan Kashmi, deputy in-charge Fatwa Department, Darul-Uloom Wakf Deoband said.
Mufti Zulfiqar, president, Uttar Pradesh Imams Organisation and a member of Shariat Court said: "A married woman can seek a divorce from her missing husband only after approaching Shariat Court."
The case of Gudiya had grabbed headlines in 2004 when her husband Arif who went missing soon after Kargil war was repatriated from Pakistan. However, till then Gudiya had married another man Taufiq and was eight months pregnant. But Gudiya was forced to return to Arif and died a few months after giving birth to a child.