New Delhi: After Supreme Court has asked for the government’s stand on putting a ban on polygamy and nikah-halala, two prominent Muslim organizations have strongly come out in the support of ‘controversial practices’. Jamiat-Ulama-I-Hind (JUIH) and Imam Council of India argued that the Indian Constitution does not interfere with the personal laws, and hence the apex court cannot examine the validity of the practices.
According to the Muslim Personal Law, men can have more than one wife to a total of upto four, if they are able to do justice amongst them. The two Muslim organisations asserted that SC, as well as different High Courts, have earlier denied interference with practices sanctioned by personal law.
JUIH in an application to SC has sought the permission to be made a party to the hearing. While Imam Council has not moved to SC. “A three-judge bench of the apex court in 1997 (Ahmedabad Women Action Group Vs Union of India) decided to not interfere with the practice of polygamy,” JUIH petition said.
SC had examined whether polygamy violates Articles 14 (right to equality) and 15 ( discrimination on grounds of religion) of the constitution. However, in 1997, the courts declined to entertain polygamy or nikah-halala stating that “these were matters wholly involving issues of state policies with which the court will not ordinarily have any concern. The court also held that these issues are matters which are to be dealt with by the legislature,” the petition said.
On the other hand, President of Imam Council of India Maqsood Ul Hasan Qasmi said: “Polygamy was brought in as a solution in olden days when a large number of Muslim women was widowed after their husbands die in battle. It gave the opportunity for a man to marry few of these widows to give them a new life and also to ensure that their children are not orphaned. This is a divine practice in which a court should not intervene.”