Telangana is second State to set up Zoroastrian jury

With Telangana setting up a 15-member Zoroastrian jury to aid the settlement of marriage and divorce, the Parsis in the State can decide on such matters within the community. Telangana becomes the second State after Maharashtra to set up the Zoroastrian jury.

Article by Nikhila Henry | The Hindu

Of the 15 members now selected from within the community, just five, acceptable to both the parties, will chair the jury. Also, the husband and wife who want a divorce will get to recommend two jury members each to suit their comfort. The fifth member of the jury will remain ‘neutral’ in the matter.

The Parsi community in the twin cities is small with just 1200-1400 members.While an average of six marriages happen each year in the community, at least one divorce takes place within a span of a year-and-a-half. In the matter of divorces in the State, the Parsi jury will send its advisory decision to the city civil court, the judge of which will later pass his/her judgement.

“Setting up the jury is instrumental in aiding the community that is dwindling in numbers. Before reaching divorce, the community first tries to counsel the parties to avert their decision to separate. Only in cases where divorce is inevitable will the jury recommend a separation,” said O.M. Debara, one of the 15 delegates from among whom the jury gets selected.

However, unlike in Mumbai where the jury acts as a Parsi chief matrimonial court, Hyderabad can set up only a jury due to the small numbers. Three-fourths of the Parsis in India live in Mumbai and Pune. Gujarat too has a good number of Parsis. Telangana’s sister state, Andhra Pradesh has just 40 Parsis who all live in Vizag.

As for marriages, members of the community who migrated from Gurajat have imbibed several of Indian traditions whereas there are Zoroastrians who follow Iranian traditions as well.

“The jury recommends marriages also under the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act,1936,” Mr. Debara said, adding that several customs specific to the community are linked with this ceremony.

In the city Parsis are represented by the Parsi Zoroastrian Anjuman of Secunderabad and Hyderabad.

The State’s Minority Welfare Department set up the 15-member committee in December after notifying community members in both Hyderabad and Secunderabad. “We wanted to aid the community which is dwindling in population,” said Syed Omer Jaleel, Secretary, Minorities Welfare department.

The 15-member body will help the community in marriage and divorce matters