New Delhi: On April 20, the Supreme Court heard a number of petitions about polygamy and nikah halala. The court has stated that it will resume hearing the case after the summer break. The two-member bench further ordered that each party receive a copy of the affidavit filed in the case by the Union of India. Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind(A) has filed a petition with the Supreme Court objecting to any judicial interference with Islamic religious practices pertaining to polygamy and nikah halala, arguing that courts are not permitted to meddle in any religion’s privacy rules.
One of the petitioners in the case is a lawyer and former BJP spokesperson Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who is well-known for submitting such petitions pertaining to Muslim Personal Law. Nafisa Khan and other Muslim women questioned the constitutionality of polygamy and nikah halala.
In his PIL, Upadhyay sought that polygamy and nikah halala be declared unconstitutional and unlawful.
JUH filed an intervention petition seeking to be heard before SC decides on Upadhyay and others’ plea for criminalizing polygamy, nikah-halala. It argued that “provisions of personal laws cannot be challenged by the reason of fundamental rights”.
Appearing on behalf of the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hindu Ejaz Maqbool, an attorney on record, claimed that although the Union of India had filed an affidavit in the case, not all parties had access to a copy of it. On the basis of his argument, the bench ordered the government’s lawyer to provide Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind and the other petitioners with copies of the affidavit.
It should be noted that a group of petitions challenging polygamy, nikah halala, nikah mut’ah, and nikah misyar practices among Muslims as being unconstitutional were filed with the apex court on March 23 of last year. The apex court sought a response from the Government of India and then scheduled the matter for adjudication before a five-judge constitution bench.
On August 30, 2017, a five-judge bench made the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), National Commission for Women (NCW), and National Commission for Minorities (NCM) parties to the PILs and asked for their responses. The judges on the bench were Justices Indira Banerjee, Hemant Gupta, Surya Kant, M.M. Sundresh, and Sudhanshu Dhulia.
According to the JUH’s petition, the organization works to safeguard Muslim communities’ civil rights as well as their religious freedoms and traditions. It also works to maintain and promote Islamic heritage, culture, and places of worship.
The head of JUH’s legal aid committee, Maulana Gulzar Azmi, emphasized that the polygamy and nikah halala concerns had been set aside by the five-member bench which heard the triple talaq case. Since that time, evil forces have been utilizing some so-called Muslim women to undermine Muslim Personal Law. They had filed a combined plea with the Supreme Court, which a three-member bench chaired by the Chief Justice of India heard, in an effort to get the court to declare polygamy and nikah halala to be illegal.
According to Gulzar Azmi, the Supreme Court is being used to meddle with Islamic law, which will be resisted to the very end by the Jamiat Ulama, and we are also completely prepared for it. Halala marriage and polygamy are both permitted under Islamic law, according to Gulzar Azmi. It cannot be repealed for the sake of fundamental rights and equal rights because these are mentioned in the Holy Quran.
The joint petitions filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, Nafisa Khan, Mualim Hussain bin Mohsin and Samina Begum have sought to declare nikah halala and polygamy as illegal which violates the fundamental rights of women under Articles 14, 15, and 21 of the Indian Constitution.