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The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre and the Law Commission to respond to a plea challenging the constitutional validity of the practice of polygamy and halala among the Muslim community.

The plea heard by the bench led by CJI Dipak Misra, AM Khanwilkar, and DY Chandrachud has said the matter will be heard by a constitution bench and has also directed the chief justice to decide on a bench to hear the case. However, if the marriage is dissolved for the third time, it will only be "halal" for both to remarry after the wife first marries another man, consummates the marriage and if the other man willingly divorces her or dies.

The bench issued notices to the union government and the attorney general on the petition filed by the woman, Sameena Begum. The five judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice J.S.Khehar (since retired) by majority judgment in 2017 had said: "Keeping in view the factual aspect in the present case, as also, the complicated questions that arise for consideration in this case (and, in the other connected cases), at the very outset, it was chose to limit the instant consideration, to "talaq-e-biddat" - triple talaq".

The bench considered the submission that an earlier five-judge constitution bench, in its 2017 verdict, had kept open the issue of polygamy and nikah halala while quashing triple talaq.

The bench was hearing at least three petitions including some PILs challenging the practices of polygamy and nikah halala on various grounds including that they violate Right to Equality and gender justice. The Muslim Personal Law Board had declared such practices as "undesirable" in the triple talaq case in its affidavit.




Poovaiya who argued for petitioner Hussein also urged the Court to consider the validity of nikah misiyar and nikah muta which allow Muslim men to have a one-night stand marriage or a marriage of pleasure.

He sought a declaration "that the provisions of the IPC are applicable on all Indian citizens and triple talaq is a cruelty under section 498A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) of the IPC, "nikah-halala" is rape under section 375 (rape) of the IPC, and polygamy is an offence under section 494 (marrying again during lifetime of husband or wife) of the IPC". In PILs filed, the petitioner now sought a declaration where Section 2 of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, as unconstitutional. She then moved the top court.

Over the years, several women's rights groups have said the practices of "nikah halala" and polygamy were discriminatory. She is also needed to observe a particular amount of separation period called Iddat before re-marrying her previous husband.

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


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