SC seeks Centre's views on practices of polygamy, 'nikah halala'

SC seeks Centre's views on practices of polygamy, 'nikah halala'

To that objective, they have also issued a notice to the centre asking to make it clear on banning those practices for violating the constitutional provisions.The court passed the order on a batch of petitions challenging sec.2 of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act 1937, for recognizing and validating the practice of Nikah Halala, Nikah Mutah and Nikah Misyar and polygamy.

7-months after declaring the Muslim practice of instant divorce or Triple Talaq unconstitutional, Supreme Court has now chose to examine the validity of other religious practices, polygamy and nikah halala in the Muslim community.

A bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, while issuing notice to the Centre and other parties, agreed to let the matter be heard by a Constitution Bench given its importance. The practice of polygamy, on the other hand, allows a Muslim man to have multiple wives with the earlier marriage still continuing. The court examined the prayers similar in each petition demanding that the twin practices of nikah halala and polygamy be declared unconstitutional and violative of fundamental rights of Muslim women under Article 14 (right to equality), Article 15 (right against discrimination), and Article 21 (right to live with dignity).

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The bench was hearing at least three petitions challenging the practices on various grounds including that they violate the right to equality and gender justice. Seeking response from the Central government and other respondents, the court did not include Law Commission as one of the respondents which was made a party by petitioner Nafisa Khan. At that time, SC chose to just focus on the Triple Talaq issue and pushed the other two aside to be dealt with later. Sameena got married in 1999 and had two sons from the wedlock. She was living with her husband in his house, where she was tortured, bullied, beaten and was asked to bring money from her parent's house. She claimed that her second husband, a married man, divorced her illegally through triple talaq. She also had no recourse to filing a criminal case under IPC Section 494 that punishes a man for bigamy. The petition said that practices of Nikah Halala, Nikah Mutah, Nikah Misyar and polygamy is a violation to the right conferred by Art.21 of the Constitution by considering women as an object for fulfilling men's desire. The petitioners were represented by Senior Advocates Mohan Parasaran, Sajan Poovayya, V.Shekhar and Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan.

Nikah Mutah and Nikah Misyar are both temporary marriages where duration of the relationship is specified and agreed upon in advance.

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