No power to ban midnight weddings, Indian state says

Telangana police asked not to stop any marriage process unless it poses a threat to the law and order

Hyderabad: The proposed campaign against late night marriage ceremonies in Hyderabad seems to be dead in the water, with the Telangana state government and city police washing their hands of the issue.

Deputy Chief Minister Mohammad Mahmoud Ali has dismissed the idea floated by the Telangana State Waqf Board’s advisory for Qazis not to perform any Nikah ceremony after 9pm saying that the government does not have any power to do so.

At the same time the city police commissioner V. Srinivasa Rao said police could not stop any marriage process unless it posed a threat to law and order.

Ali told journalists the government was not in a position to impose a deadline on Qazis performing Nikah ceremonies.

“It would be better if the wedding functions end early, as eating late causes health problems. But the government cannot force anything on the people”.

He said in a press statement, in the absence of any guidelines from the government, police could not enforce any such ban.

“The duty of the police was to maintain law and order and it cannot interfere with private function like wedding”.

The reaction came in the context of the meeting chaired by the Waqf Bord chairman Mohammad Saleem earlier this week, which decided to launch a campaign from February 1 to ensure that wedding functions end by midnight and to ensure that the Qazis should not perform any Nikah ceremony after 9pm.

The meeting, which was attended by Qazis, police officials including the police commissioner and representatives of several Muslim organisations, had decided to create social awareness against the grandiose marriages which continue until the early hours of the next day.

The meeting had also proposed confining the wedding dinners to only a single dish.

The police commissioner had assured the cooperation from the police in ensuring that the wedding functions end by midnight.

However in his press note, Srinivas Rao said there was no legal justification for imposing any restrictions on the marriage processions of any particular community.

“The police have the power to take action only when such programmes create noise pollution or the participants carry weapons”, he said.

A section of Qazis has also come out against the proposed curbs arguing that due to the evening traffic rush, normally the bridegroom does not reach the function hall on time and Qazis have to perform more than one marriage on a day during the marriage season. Apparently the meeting was convened by the Waqf Board chairman without informing the government or the office of the Chief Minister and the deputy Chief Minister was also not present at the meeting.


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