Advocate Shukkur and wife Sheena remarry under Special Marriage Act to secure daughters' future

C Shukkur and his wife Sheena at the Kanhangad Hosdurg Sub-Registrar's office in the presence of their daughters. Photo: Jibin Chembola/Manorama

Kasaragod: Advocate and actor C Shukkur, who has been married for 29 years, remarried his wife on Wednesday. This time, however, they registered their marriage under the Special Marriage Act (SMA) so as to ensure the financial security of their three daughters.

The couple, whose nikah originally took place on October 6, 1994, got remarried at the sub-registrar's office at Kanhangad in Hosdurg taluk of Kasaragod in the presence of their daughters, according to Shukkur's Facebook post.

Shukkur, popular for his role as a lawyer in the Kunchacko Boban starrer 'Nna Thaan Case Kodu' (Sue me), and his wife Sheena, former Pro-Vice Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University, renewed their vows on International Women's Day.

In western countries and among some Hindu castes, couples often renew their vows or get remarried to their spouses after a certain number of years together in marital life, but this couple will be taking a special route to re-register their marriage due to certain conditions imposed in Muslim inheritance laws.

The laws state that daughters will only get two-thirds of their father's property and the rest will go to his brothers in the absence of a male heir.

The couple, who have been married for 29 years now, hope to change the situation by re-registering their marriage under the SMA.

In a Facebook post, Shukkur said that in the past he had two near-death experiences which prompted him to think about what he was leaving back for his daughters and whether they would inherit all of his savings and property.

His concern was that according to the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act of 1937 and the stand taken by the courts, only two-thirds of the father's property goes to the daughters and the rest would go to his brothers if there was no male progeny.

Moreover, under Sharia law, leaving behind a will is not permitted, he said in his post.

Therefore, just because they were born as girls, they will face such gender discrimination, he pointed out.

According to Shukkur, the only way out of this predicament is to get married under the SMA.

So he hopes that his decision would show the way to end the gender discrimination faced by daughters in Muslim families and help to raise the self-confidence and dignity of girl children.

"May Allah raise the self-confidence and dignity of our daughters. All are equal before Allah and our Constitution," he said in his post.

He further said, in his post, that this decision of theirs to get remarried was not to defy anyone or anything or the Sharia law as it exists presently.

"We are only exploring the possibility that Muslim personal law will not affect those who marry through the Special Marriage Act. Sheena and I are remarrying for our children," he said.

Speaking to a TV channel, he said: "We just want to secure our daughters' future."

His wife, who too spoke to the channel, said the difficulty they had gone through is faced by many Muslim families who have only daughters.

"When teaching at college or while speaking at some public forum, after it gets over, many parents come to me and ask whether this (the inheritance issue) is right.

"We have been hearing this for years. We could ask someone to do something about it or we have two options -- take the legal route or show the way through our life choices. We should do what we can," Sheena said.

(With PTI inputs)

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