New Delhi: A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of practice of polygamy and Nikah-Halala under Muslim Personal law.
Once a Muslim woman has been divorced, her husband is not permitted to take her back unless she undergoes Nikah-Halala, which involves her marrying another man, who subsequently divorces her so that her previous husband can re-marry her.
Filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadyay, advocate and BJP leader, the PIL claims that the provisions of Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 in so far as it recognizes and validates the “sinful form" of Nikah-Halala and polygamy, grossly injures the fundamental rights of married Muslim women and offends Article 14 (Right to Equality), Article 15 (Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth) and Article 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution of India for being against public order, morality and health.
The PIL argues that the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939 is also unconstitutional and violates Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution for failing to protect Indian Muslim women from bigamy.
“A complete ban on Polygamy and Nikah-Halala has long been need of the hour as it renders Muslim wives extremely insecure, vulnerable and infringes their fundamental rights. Equality should be the basis of all personal law since the Constitution envisages equality, justice and dignity for women," the petition reads.
The petition further argues that the practice of polygamy and Nikah-Halala has no basis in the Quran and has been banned/restricted by various Islamic nations.
The PIL also questions the Centre for failing to implement a Uniform Civil Code under Article 44 of the Constitution. It seeks to know why Centre has not “protested" against the decision of the Indian Muslim Personal Law Board to set up parallel courts in many localities to decide cases under the Shariat.
It is claimed that setting up of such a parallel court would be contrary to the idea of a Uniform Civil Code as well as the constitutionally mandated system of a single judiciary for the entire nation.