NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Monday directed the Uttar Pradesh government to ensure medical treatment and compensation to a Muslim woman petitioner in a case concerning polygamy and 'Nikah Halala', who suffered an acid attack and has sought protection.
The apex court directed the Chief District Medical Officer of Bulandshahr town, where she was attacked, to ensure proper treatment to Shabnam Rani and asked the administration to consider granting her additional security.
Rani was last week attacked with acid in Bulandshahr and it has been alleged that a close relative and his friend were involved in the attack.
While polygamy allows a Muslim man to have four wives, 'Nikah Halala' deals with the process in which a Muslim woman can re-marry her husband after divorce, only when she marries another person, consummates the second marriage and then gets a divorce.
In her plea against 'Nikah Halala' and polygamy, Rani had alleged that her husband had divorced her through 'triple talaq' and forced her to perform 'Nikah Halala' with her brother-in-law.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwikar and D Y Chandrachud noted the submission of Additional Advocate General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the state, that an FIR has been lodged and security has been provided to the victim.
The court said if there was a scheme for compensation and any application has been submitted, then it may be dealt with in a span of two weeks.
It also said if any further security was required, then she could submit a representation to the Superintendent of Police who shall scrutinise it and do the needful.
"That apart, the applicant shall be given adequate treatment keeping in view the injuries. The concerned Chief District Medical Officer of the district shall do the needful in the matter when it is brought to his notice."
"Officers who have been mentioned hereinabove should be sensitive enough to carry out their duties as far as such treatment is concerned, that is, in consonance with the order of this Court and the policy of the State Government and, therefore, there cannot be delay in such matter," the bench said.
With regard to other Muslim women who have challenged 'Nikah Halala' and apprehend similar attacks, the top court asked them to submit representations to the concerned Superintendents of Police of the area who shall look into their grievance regarding providing them security.
The bench also directed that the pleadings in various petitions, challenging the constitutional validity of the practice of 'Nikah Halala' and polygamy among Muslims, be completed within one month.
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for the Centre, said that reply to the petitions would be filed within a month.
Numerous petitions have been filed in the top court challenging the prevalent practices of 'nikah halala' and polygamy among Muslims, saying it was violative of fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.