The Supreme Court on Monday gave its nod to consider petitions challenging the practices of polygamy and nikah halala among Muslims, nearly a year after its historic verdict invalidating triple talaq.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud was hearing a petition filed by one of the petitioners Sameena Begum, who is being represented by senior advocate V Shekhar and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay. Considering Shekhar’s submissions that the petitions be listed before a five-judge constitution bench for final adjudication, the bench said, “We will look into it.”
Shekhar and Upadhyay alleged that the petitioner was threatened and asked to withdraw her petition challenging ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy among Muslims.
Meanwhile, the bench also allowed Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, to file a response to the petition on the issue.
On March 26, the Supreme Court had agreed to examine the constitutional validity of the prevalent practices of polygamy and ‘nikah halala’ among Muslims and sought responses from the Centre and the Law Commission. The apex court also referred the matter to the constitution bench.
While polygamy allows a Muslim man to have four wives, nikah halala deals with the process in which a Muslim woman, in order to remarry her former husband, has to marry a different person and get divorced from him. Nikah mutah and nikah misyar, the petitioners told the Supreme Court, are “temporary” marriages for “pleasure”.
The petition, filed by the Delhi-based woman, has said that by virtue of the Muslim Personal Law and Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code (marrying again during lifetime of husband or wife) was rendered inapplicable to Muslims and no married woman from the community has the avenue of filing a complaint against her husband for the offence of bigamy.
With PTI inputs