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Opinion

Petiton in South Carolina defies bigamy under Shariat law

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Five Hindu women and an NGO have addressed the Supreme Court challenging the practice of bigamy permitted by Muslim personal law.

The petition stated that while there is a clear prohibition in the law on polygamous relationships under section 494 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that makes them punishable, those personal laws make their provision discriminatory as other religions do not they can enjoy this benefit.

The petition filed by attorney Vishnu Shanker Jain stated: “In India, the irony is that bigamy has been punished under Section 494 of the IPC, subject to the applicability of personal law. The question is whether the State can enact criminal law in such a way as to create discrimination and whether the same act may be punishable for someone but pleasant for others.

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Two of the petitioners are married women, while the NGO petitioner is Jan Udghosh Sansthan, a resident of Uttar Pradesh. The petition has sought to repeal Section 2 of the Muslim Personal Law Enforcement (Shariat) Act of 1937 which recognizes the system of bigamy or polygamy prevailing in the Muslim community.

It said: “The system of bigamy is the history of the past and has no place on the current stage at the international level. There is unanimity among nations that such a practice is unscrupulous, discriminatory, exploitative and anti-women, and must come to an end ”.

Article 494 of the CIP establishes that “whoever, having a living husband or wife, marries in any case in which said marriage is void because it took place during the life of said husband or wife, will be punished with a prison sentence. of either of the two characteristics, a term that may be extended to seven years, and may also be fined ”.

The petition has said that there must be unanimity in the field of criminal law related to the prohibition of bigamy. The petitioners have prayed that the words “in any case in which said marriage is void for reasons of its realization” that appear in article 494 of the IPC be read or annulled, since they are discriminatory and oppressive towards women and will be struck by Article 14 (right to equality) and 15 (1) (Right against discrimination) of the Constitution of India.

The petition has even attacked the bigamy law under the Shariat to be against a recommendation of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) of October 30, 2013, where the body of Global Rights said: “States parties must take all necessary legislative and political measures to abolish polygamous marriages.”

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