Polygamy in Muslim personal law misinterpretated, its ‘heinously patriarchal’ says Gujarat HC

Indian Muslim brides talk during a mass wedding ceremony at the ancient Sarkhej Roza mosque and tomb complex in Ahmedabad on March 21, 2015. Some 112 Muslim couples joined the event organised by the Husaini Waqaf Committee. Mass weddings are often welcomed in India for reducing the pressure on parents on organizing and paying for the wedding, with participating couples given basic household items and some jewellery while free food is provided for the couples and their limited invited guests, with the help of generous donors.  AFP PHOTO / Sam PANTHAKY

Indian Muslim brides talk during a mass wedding ceremony at the ancient Sarkhej Roza mosque and tomb complex in Ahmedabad on March 21, 2015. Some 112 Muslim couples joined the event organised by the Husaini Waqaf Committee. Mass weddings are often welcomed in India for reducing the pressure on parents on organizing and paying for the wedding, with participating couples given basic household items and some jewellery while free food is provided for the couples and their limited invited guests, with the help of generous donors. AFP PHOTO / Sam PANTHAKY

Ahmedabad: In a strongly-worded order, the Gujarat High Court said the Quran was being misinterpreted by Muslim men to have more than one wife and the provision of polygamy was being misused by them for “selfish reasons”.

The court called for the abolition of polygamy in Muslim society in India as it’s a “heinously patriarchal” act.

The High Court also stated that time has come for the country to embrace the uniform civil code as such provisions are in violation of the Constitution.

Justice J B Pardiwala made these observations while pronouncing the order related to section 494 of IPC, which deals with punishment for having more than one wife.

The petitioner, Jafar Abbas Merchant, had approached the high court to quash an FIR against him filed by his wife who alleged that he got married to another woman without her consent.

In the FIR, she invoked Section 494 of IPC (marrying again during lifetime of husband or wife) against Jafar.

In his plea, Jafar, however, claimed that the Muslim Personal Law allows Muslim men to marry four times and hence the FIR against him does not stand legal scrutiny.

In the order, Pardiwala noted, “the Quran is being misinterpreted by Muslim men to have more than one wife.”

“When the Quran allowed polygamy, it was for a fair reason. When men use that provision today, they do it for a selfish reason. Polygamy finds mention in the Quran only once, and it is about conditional polygamy,” the order said.

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Categories: Islam

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