The Religious Courts Should be the Emergency Exit
The Religious Courts should be the emergency exit when a spouse facing a family problem. “We have to save our family from divorce and the Religious Courts do not aim to separate spouse easily. Divorce in the courts will be the final solution”, the Director General of the Religious Courts, Wahyu Widiana said in a national seminar held by PEKKA (Women Heads of Household) in Balai Kartini, Jakarta (28/6/2011).
The seminar was attended by more than 300 people including PEKKA’s member from 18 provinces, New Men’s Alliance, the Family Justice Movement (Alimat), and some NGOs. “By this national seminar, we intend to echo the harmonized dignified family where men and women are equal”, the National Coordinator of PEKKA, Nani Zulminarni said.
Some speakers inclcude the Director General of the Religious Courts, Wahyu Widiana, Jonhar Johan from the Ministry of the Women Empowerment and Child Protection, Kunthi Tridewiyanti from the National Commission on Violence Against Women, Nur Rofiah from the Family Justice Movement (Alimat) dan Eko Bambang Subiyantoro from New Men’s Alliance.
Wahyu Widiana said that the Religious Courts were obliged to reconcile a spouse when they filed their case. According to him, the Religious Courts utilizes mediation to save a family. Not all families will be divorced when they come to the courts. “According our data, we have saved more than 2900 families in 2010. It means that the mediation is effective enough”, he said.
Some members of PEKKA said that they got some benefits from the prominent program of the Directorate General of the Religious Courts. Circuit court, prodeo case (waiving court fees) and legal aid are the important services provided by the Religious Courts across the country.
Ima Sita Khasanah, a woman from Cianjur for example, finally got her official divorce certificate from the Religious Court of Cianjur. “Fortunately, the Religious Court of Cianjur conducted a circuit court here; therefore I could obtain my legal marital status”, she said happily.
Wahyu Widiana explained that the Directorate General of the Religious Courts, in fact, intended to provide legal aid post in all Religious Courts, but the budged from state was not sufficiently available. Therefore, he hoped all stakeholders had a good understanding on the legal aid programs. “I know that some local governments have serious attention to this program and they intend to take a part for the program by contributing some money. But, unfortunately the courts as judicative institution are prohibited to accept the money”, he said.
He then said that NGO could be a good facilitator to manage the money. The local governments could not give the money directly to people because they would find difficulty in accountability.