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Supreme Court to examine validity of Muslim divorce, polygamy

NEW DELHI: With Muslim women at a disadvantage under the Muslim Personal Law with no safeguard against arbitrary divorce and polygamy, the Supreme Court has now decided to examine the validity of such practices saying that it amounts to violation of women’s fundamental rights.

A bench of Justices A R Dave and A K Goel said laws dealing with marriage and succession are not part of religion and the Muslim Personal Law has to evolve with the changing times. The bench said it is high time for the judiciary to examine these issues which the court had earlier refrained from venturing into on the ground that it was a policy matter to be decided by the government and the legislature. It said these are not merely a policy matter but relate to protection of fundamental rights of Muslim women guaranteed by the Constitution. Referring to an earlier apex court verdict, the bench said practice of polygamy is injurious to public morals and can be banned just like the practice of sati was banned.

“It was pointed out that in spite of Constitutional guarantee, Muslim women are subjected to discrimination. There is no safeguard against arbitrary divorce and second marriage by her husband during currency of the first marriage, resulting in denial of dignity and security to her,” the bench said.

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