The Supreme Court has referred a challenge to the practice of polygamy and nikah halala under the Muslim personal law to be heard by a Constitution bench. The court also sought responses from the Centre and the Law Commission.
Polygamy and ‘nikah halala’
Polygamy allows a Muslim man 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.
- The provisions of Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, in so far as it recognizes and validates the “sinful form” of nikah halala and polygamy, violates the fundamental rights of married Muslim women and offends Article 14 (Right to Equality), Article 15 (Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth) and Article 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution of India.
- The practice of polygamy and nikah halala had no basis in the Quran and had been banned/restricted by various Islamic countries.