SC pursues response from Center on fresh plea challenging practices on “Polygamy” and “Nikah Halala”

NewsBharati    24-Jul-2018

New Delhi, July 24: Seeking response from the Centre, the Supreme Court on Monday sought to obtain a reply from the Centre on a fresh plea challenging practices of polygamy and 'nikah halala' among Muslim women.

The apex court issued a notice to the Centre on the petition filed by one Farjana and tagged the matter along with a batch of petitions to be heard by the constitution bench. A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud considered the submissions of senior advocate Vikas Singh and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay that the petition is listed before a five-judge constitution bench for final settlement.

The plea addressed, "Petitioner is filing this petition under Article 32 of the Constitution seeking a writ, order or direction in the nature of mandamus to declare polygamy and nikah halala, practiced in Muslim community, illegal and unconstitutional for being violative of Articles 14, 15, 21 and 25 of the Constitution."

The petition further sought a declaration that extra-judicial talaq is a cruelty under Section 498A of the IPC, nikah halala is an offense under Section 375 of the IPC, and polygamy is an offense under Section 494 of the IPC, 1860.

The apex court, which on 22 August last year had banned the age-old practice of instant 'triple talaq' among Sunni Muslims, had on March 26 this year decided to refer to a larger bench a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of polygamy and 'nikah halala' among Muslims.

While polygamy allows a Muslim man to have four wives, 'nikah halala' is a process in which a Muslim woman, who wants to re-marry her husband after divorce, has to first marry another person and get a divorce from the second person after the consummating the marriage.

It had also issued notices to the law and justice ministry, the minority affairs ministry and the National Commission of Women (NCW) at that time. Some petitions have also challenged the practices of 'Nikah Mutah' and 'Nikah Misyar' as these are two types of temporary marriages where the duration of the relationship is specified and agreed upon in advance.