SC will examine constitutional validity of polygamy, nikah halala

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While agreeing to take up the matter, the bench, which also comprised Justices A.M. Kanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud, considered the submission that an earlier five-judge constitution bench, in its August 22, 2017 verdict, had kept open the issue of polygamy and nikah-halala while quashing triple talaq.

In this process, a man can not remarry his former wife if she does not go through the process of marrying someone else, carry out that marriage, getting divorced and observing a separation period called Iddat.

A five-judge constitution bench had earlier held triple talaq as unconstitutional in its judgment delivered past year with a majority of 3:2.

The petitions challenge the practice on various grounds including violation of Right to Equality and gender justice. "Other questions raised in the connected writ petitions, such as, polygamy and "halala" (and other allied matters), would be dealt with separately", the apex court had said.

On March 5, Delhi BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay had moved the apex court against the practices of polygamy and nikah-halala saying they violated the basic fundamental rights of Muslim women granted under the Constitution.

The bench reached a conclusion to do so after repeated petitions and complaints that argue how these practices subjugate women to a lower position than men and make them vulnerable.

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Two of the petitioners - Sameena Begum and Nafisa Khan related their ordeal of how their husbands mistreated them and without obtaining divorce, married another woman. Nikah Mutah is a temporary marriage contract the validity of which must be decided in advance.

The petitioner, who herself claimed to be a victim of such practices, has alleged that her husband and his family used to torture her for want of more dowry and she was ousted from the matrimonial home twice. The Bench had then said the said issues could be debated upon as and when an affected party approached the court.

Nikah misiyar is prevalent among Sunni Muslims while Zaidi Shias, Ismaili Shias, and Dawoodi Bohras do not practice nikah mutah.

"Polygamy and nikah halala (can be declared) as an offence under (penal code) sections 498A (harassment by husband or in-laws), 375 (rape) and 494 (bigamy)", she has pleaded.

This is unedited, unformatted feed from the Press Trust of India wire.

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