SC seeks response of Centre on PILs against polygamy, nikah halala

Elias Hubbard
March 26, 2018

Seven months after striking down the 'instant triple talaq', the Apex Court has made a decision to explore the validity of these marriage practices, commonly exercised by Muslim community.

The Supreme Court on Monday said that the constitution bench will hear petitions on polygamy and "nikah halala" among Muslims.

On March 14, a Delhi-based woman, had moved the apex court saying that by virtue of Muslim Personal Law, section 494 of IPC (marrying again during lifetime of husband or wife) was rendered inapplicable to this community and no married Muslim woman has the avenue of filing a complaint against her husband for the offence of bigamy. Through its notices, the SC has asked them to come clear on their stand on these petitions, which requests to abolish such marriage practices. Nikah-halala is a practice meant to curb divorce.

The practice of "Nikah Halala" requires the divorced woman to marry someone else, consummate the marriage and then get a divorce in order to again marry her first husband under the Muslim personal law.

Polygamy is a practice followed in Muslim community where men are allowed to have multiple wives.

In her petition, one of the women said she has been a victim of polygamy and had filed the petition to highlight the plight of thousands of Muslim women across the country.

A Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra considered the submission that a five-judge Constitution Bench, in its 2017 verdict, kept open the issue of polygamy and "nikah halala" while quashing triple talaq.

In a historic decision last August, a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court by 3:2 majority struck down triple talaq, or instant divorce, as unconstitutional. When the attorney general (AG) insisted that all three issues be heard together, the bench said, "AG, it does not even happen in T20 cricket that one can take three wickets in one ball". The petitioners - two Muslim women and a BJP lawyer - want the top court to declare both practices illegal and unconstitutional. After instant triple talaq being struck down previous year, it has to be seen what next will happen with Polygamy and Nikah Halala.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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