NEW DELHI: A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in Delhi High Court demanding Muslim men to obtain prior permission from existing spouse before entering another contractual marriage. It was argued that even in countries governed by Shariah (Islamic) law, the second marriage is permitted only under special circumstances, such as illness of the first wife or her inability to bear children.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla directed the respondents to file their affidavits within six weeks and listed the case for further hearing on August 23.
The petition was filed by one Reshma arguing that she got married to Mohammed Shoeb Khan in 2019 and has a 11-month-old child. She was allegedly deserted by her husband after pronouncing triple talaq and now fears that her husband is planning to marry another woman.
The PIL sought a direction to the Central government to frame laws to regulate bigamy or polygamy contracted by a Muslim man under the Shariat Law and a declaration that a husband is obliged to maintain all his wives equally. "In these cases, with the first wife's consent, a man may marry again and this is referred to as polygamy, a subset of polygamous marriages," it said.
The petition added that the Holy Quran permits a Muslim man to marry more than one woman at a time (up to a maximum of four), but does not encourage such behaviour. "All wives are entitled to separate living quarters. It is submitted that jurists are unanimous in their view that in Islamic societies. Polygamous marriage are permitted, but only in certain circumstances that is primarily in situations where a man's death has left his widows with no means or support," the petition stated.
The petition, therefore, sought a declaration that bigamy or polygamy contracted by a Muslim husband without obtaining prior written consent of his wife (wives) and without making prior proper arrangements of accommodation, maintenance of his wife (or wives) is unconstitutional, anti-shariat, illegal, arbitrary, harsh, inhuman, barbaric, discriminatory.