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Woman Divorced Twice Approaches Supreme Court to Declare Polygamy, Nikah Halala Illegal

Sameena Begum was first married in 1999 and she produced two sons. After repeated abuse and a consequent police complaint, she was given triple talaq. She was forced to marry again but to an already married man. After she got pregnant again, she was given triple talaq over the phone after a trivial argument.

Debayan Roy | News18.com

Updated:March 10, 2018, 7:53 AM IST
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Woman Divorced Twice Approaches Supreme Court to Declare Polygamy, Nikah Halala Illegal
File photo of the Supreme Court.

New Delhi: A mother of three who was divorced twice through instant triple talaq has approached the Supreme Court to declare polygamy and Nikah Halala as unconstitutional among Muslims.

Earlier, BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay had filed a plea seeking a complete prohibition on polygamy and Nikah Halala for violating fundamental rights of Muslim women.

One of the earlier such pleas heard and decided by the court was that of Shayara Bano who had approached the apex court to declare triple talaq as a violation of gender justice. A five-judge bench had declared instant talaq to be an un-Islamic practice and struck it down.

Sameena Begum was first married in 1999 and she produced two sons. After repeated abuse and a consequent police complaint, she was given triple talaq. She was forced to marry again but to an already married man. After she got pregnant again, she was given triple talaq over the phone after a trivial argument.

Now, Sameena lives alone with her three children. She said she has filed the PIL not only for herself but also for others who have suffered the same plight.

She requested the court that Section 2 of Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, be declared as arbitrary and violating Articles 14, 15, 21 and 25 of the Constitution, insofar as it seeks to recognise and validate polygamy and Nikah Halala.

It has also requested the court to ensure that provisions of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, are applicable on all Indian citizens. The plea also sought recognition that "triple talaq is a cruelty under IPC Section 498A, Nikah-Halala is rape under IPC Section 375, polygamy is an offence under Section 494 of the IPC".

"The concept of polygamy was allowed in this verse (Quran) because of utmost concern for the welfare of women and orphans who were left behind in the battle. It is pertinent to mention that by no means it is a general licence to Muslims in present times to marry with more than one woman. Besides it puts onus on them to treat the additional spouses justly, which is admittedly a difficult task," the plea said.

Bearing a similarity with the triple talaq plea, the plea too has cited international laws and countries where polygamy has been prohibited.

It also noted that polygamy is totally prohibited in Tunisia and Turkey. "In countries like Indonesia, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, Pakistan and Bangladesh, it is permissible only if authorised by the prescribed authority," it said.

Sameena said, “Equality should be the basis of all personal law since the Constitution envisages equality, justice and dignity for women."

​The petitioner contended that though it is illegal for Muslim women to marry a second time during subsistence of first marriage but "there is no requirement for Muslim husband so that the permission of the first wife is to be taken before contracting second marriage".

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| Edited by: Huma Tabassum
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