A Kerala high court judge stirred up a storm on Sunday after he questioned why Muslim women could not have four husbands while the men enjoyed the same privilege under the Muslim personal law.
“Muslim personal laws are heavily loaded against women. Besides denying equality, it also denies women’s right to property and other issues,” Justice B Kamal Pasha said while addressing a seminar organised by an NGO run by women lawyers in Kozhikode.
Under the Muslim personal law, a man can marry four times. Although many Muslim countries have banned polygamy, it is still prevalent in India.
According to the judge, Muslim Personal Law in India discriminated against women on matters related to dowry, divorce and inheritance, and this contradicted the Holy Quran’s position on these issues, Times of India reported.
“While the Holy Quran actually granted women the right to extrajudicial divorce by way of Fasakh, Muslim personal law didn’t grant that right to women even as it allowed men the right to pronounce talaq,” he added.
Justice Pasha also blamed religious heads for establishing the hegemony of men. “Religious heads should do self-introspection whether they are eligible to pronounce one-sided verdicts. People should also think about the eligibility of persons who are pronouncing such verdicts,” he said, adding that women were deprived even of the rights enshrined in the Holy Quran.
He went on to say that it was unfair to oppose a uniform civil code. “Even the highest court is a bit reluctant to interfere in this. Women should come forward to end this injustice,” he said.
The judge added that the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, would be fruitful if the right of a woman to her husband’s property is properly defined.
This article originally appeared on Hindustan Times.