An Uttar Pradesh government order making a person with two wives ineligible for recruitment as Urdu teachers in schools has drawn flak from Muslim Personal Law Board, which said these riders were tantamount to violation of rights of Muslims.
The state government recently issued a notice for appointment of 3,500 Urdu teachers in primary schools before the beginning of the new session.
The government order states that candidates applying for the post must reveal their marital status and that all those who have two wives, both living, would be considered non-eligible for the post.
Also, female candidates who are married to a man who has two wives, both living, would also be considered non-eligible. When contacted, UP Basic Education Minister Ahmad Hasan said the condition has been imposed to prevent confusion over who should get pension in the event of the employee's death.
"This has been done to remove confusion as to who should be the beneficiary in the case of the employee's death," he told PTI. The Muslim Personal Law Board, however, said these riders violated the rights of Muslims.
"Government cannot impose such conditions when it comes to recruitment of staff. There is a provision for four marriages in Islam, even though just about one per cent of Muslim men have two wives. Even so, such conditions should not become part of the job application process," Imam of Lucknow's Eidgah and member of the Muslim Personal Law Board Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali said.
He said if the man leaves behind two wives, the government can divide the pension between the two. "If the government has other issues, we can think of solutions," he said.
An Education department official said the provision was not meant for Urdu teachers alone, but for all teachers in the government system. Filing of applications will start on January 19 for posts announced through government orders of January 5 and 8.
The official said the order applied equally to all staff, whether they are teachers of Urdu or another subject. The reason for this is to avoid confusion in the distribution of pension.