Islamic clerics in eastern India have ruled that a woman divorced by her husband in a fit of drunkenness can remarry him only after she takes another husband for one day, police said on Monday.
Ershad, a rickshaw puller, uttered the word “talaq,” or divorce, three times earlier this month while he was drunk, and when news leaked out in their village in eastern Orissa state, the clerics said they must separate.
“The couple had kept it under wraps and continued to stay together but the clerics ruled that since Ershad uttered the word talaq three times, it constituted a divorce,” district police chief Shatrughan Parida said over the telephone.
Under the rules, the woman, who is a mother of three, must marry another man and obtain a divorce from him before she can be reunited with Ershad, the clerics in the local mosque said.
The clerics have said the man the woman marries temporarily must be 70 years of age, Parida said.
Muslims, who constitute more than 13 percent of India’s mainly Hindu population, are governed by special personal laws including marriage laws. But in many remote rural areas, it is the local clerics who pass diktats on social issues before they reach the courts.
Earlier this year, another Muslim couple in neighboring West Bengal state was told by local religious leaders they must separate after the man uttered “talaq” thrice in his sleep. They refused the order and continue to live together.