Gujarat High Court says polygamy should be abolished across India

November 9, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

muslim womenAhmedabad, November 6, 2015: The High Court of Gujarat yesterday issued an order seeking the abolition of polygamy among India’s Muslim community, as often it is motivated by “selfish reasons” and is an “excruciatingly patriarchal” act. The court also stated that “it is time to standardize the Civil Code because these rules [Islamic] violate the Constitution of India”.

Judge JB Pardiwala issued the order following an appeal brought before his court by a Muslim man, Jafar Abbas Merchant, who was sued by his first wife for having contracted a new marriage without her consent. The offending provision is section 464 of the Indian Civil Code, which punishes cases of remarriage. Instead Islamic law instead allows Muslims to contract new marriages.

Jafar had argued in his appeal that Islamic law allows up to four weddings. But the judge gave the following reasons for his decision: “The Koran is misunderstood by Muslims who want to have another wife. When the Koran allows polygamy, it is only when it is done for the right reasons, for example to protect children and mothers from the exploitation. While today people use it for selfish reasons. The sacred text of Islam forbids polygamy if it has the purpose of personal interest or sexual desire. ”

Pardiwala added: ” On the basis of modern, progressive thinking, India must shun the practice and establish uniform civil code,” stated the judgment “. “It is up to the doctors of Islamic law and Muslim men – he continued- to ensure that they do not abuse the Koran to justify this heinously patriarchal act for their personal interest.”

The High Court order also stressed that “Polygamy and the unilateral talaq [divorce in Islam] without the wife’s consent offends Article 14 (equality before law for all) and Article 15 (the state’s non­discrimination on grounds of caste, religion, sex, etc). If the state tolerates this law, it becomes an accomplice in the discrimination of the female, which is illegal under its own laws”. It concludes that “if the state tolerates this law, it becomes complicit in the discrimination against women, which is illegal under the law.”

– asia news

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