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Supreme Court to assess the constitutional validity of ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy among Muslims

A lawyer from Hyderabad, who has filed a petition had argued that while the Muslim law permits a man to have a number of wives through temporary marriages what is better known as polygamy, the same right is not granted to women and hence the law violates the Muslim women’s fundamental rights.

With 7 months passed of declaring instant triple talaq unconstitutional, the top court gave its nod asses the constitutional validity of ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy in Muslims.

Taking cognizance of the five-judge bench which assessed the instant triple talaq and declared their verdict in August 2017, it had kept the issues of ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy open.

The Supreme Court today issued notices to the Law Commission and the Centre asking them to clarify their stance on a bunch of petitions asking that the two practices should be eradicated. Polygamy is the practice of marrying more than one woman whereas ‘nikah-halala’ is the practice of curbing divorce. Moreover, under it, a man cannot marry his former wife again, without having her getting married to someone else, getting the marriage consummated, getting a divorce and observing a period of separation termed as ‘Iddat”.

A lawyer from Hyderabad, who has filed a petition had argued that while the Muslim law permits a man to have a number of wives through temporary marriages what is better known as polygamy, the same right is not granted to women and hence the law violates the Muslim women’s fundamental rights.

An additional petition was filed by a woman based in Delhi where she stated that by the virtue of the Muslim Personal Law, section 494 of the IPC (remarrying during the lifetime of wife or husband) was condensed as incapable to Muslims and not a single woman from the community has the right to file a complaint against her husband for the wrongdoing of bigamy.

As of now, Justice Khehar, one of the members of the bench stated, “We have taken a conscious decision to deal only with triple talaq” and not polygamy or ‘nikah halala’.

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