Supreme Court seeks Centre’s response on plea against polygamy

On Monday, the Supreme Court of India has agreed to examine the constitutional validity of the prevalent practices of polygamy and ‘nikah halala’ among the Muslims and sought responses from the Centre and the law commission.

A constitutional bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Mishra considered the submission that an earlier five-judge bench, in its 2017 verdict, had kept open the issue of Polygamy and ‘nikah halala’ while quashing the triple talaq.

On Monday, the bench which comprises of Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said a fresh five-judge constitution bench would be set up to deal with the constitutionality of ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy. While Polygamy allows Muslim men to have four wives, ‘nikah halala’ deals with the process in which a Muslim woman has to marry another person and get divorced from him before being allowed to marry her divorcee husband again.

A five-judge constitution bench had earlier held triple talaq as unconstitutional in its judgment last year by the majority of 3:2. The bench was hearing at least three petitions including some PILs challenging the practices on various grounds including that they violate Right to Equality and gender justice.

Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, Delhi’s BJP leader who filed a PIL on March 5th, claimed that the ban on polygamy and ‘nikah halala’ was the need of the hour to secure basic rights. Upadhyay’s petition said, the harm caused to the women due to the practices of triple talaq, polygamy and ‘nikah halala’ violates of Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitutional and injurious to public order, morality and health.

On 18th March, a Hyderabad-based lawyer has also challenged the practice of Polygamy, claiming that all these types of marriages under the Muslim personal law violate the fundamental rights of Muslim women.

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