Why not four spouses for Muslim women too, asks Indian judge

Published: March 8, 2016
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Muslim brides wait for the start of their mass marriage ceremony in Mumbai May 11, 2014. PHOTO: REUTERS

Muslim brides wait for the start of their mass marriage ceremony in Mumbai May 11, 2014. PHOTO: REUTERS

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.

Muslim women in India reject ‘triple talaq’, polygamy: Survey

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.

Men misinterpreting Quran to marry more than once, says Indian HC

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.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Hmm
    Mar 8, 2016 - 2:50PM

    Why are you making mockery of muslim “personal” law board ? You know it is so personal.Recommend

  • wiserneighbour
    Mar 8, 2016 - 3:07PM

    uniform civil code is the answer for all these maladies!Recommend

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Mar 8, 2016 - 3:25PM

    Men have multiple wives for multiple reasons . Giving shelter to young defenceless widows / desitutes / love / property tangles etc., The whole purpose of polygamy is lost in translation. He is supposed to take equal care of all his spouses . Its not some ego issue or challenge to have more num of wives. Recommend

  • xxx
    Mar 8, 2016 - 11:21PM

    @Bunny Rabbit

    So according to ur logic.. if a women is working and if she gives shelter to 4 homeless men and marries all 4 of them. That should also be correct? She will take care of all 4 equally.Recommend

  • Binbadel bersat
    Mar 9, 2016 - 9:31AM

    @Bunny Rabbit:
    Even in this day an age? Get a grip, unless you are still living in 7th century.Recommend

  • AmarAkbarAnthony, Australia
    Mar 9, 2016 - 3:54PM

    This Lawyer is Brilliant with his progressive ideas…Its high time India step up its act and bring in Uniform Civil Code…Everyone including Women irrespective of religion should have equal rights and opportunities.Recommend

  • Paki
    Mar 9, 2016 - 5:57PM

    Poor fellow. Counter question: if she has 4 husbands and she expects. who will be the legitimate father?Recommend

  • RB
    Mar 10, 2016 - 1:46AM

    @Paki:
    Really? In this day an age with DNA testing?? Moreover it is one family isn’t it? Would it matter?Recommend

  • IBN E ASHFAQUE
    Mar 24, 2016 - 10:52AM

    That is why we have Pakistan so that muslims live according to the will of Allah. Not some abstract idea of equality between men and women. Women have babies and men do not. Women have periods men do not. Hence, in all things we cannot be the same. In the courts washrooms are different for men and women. Allah created us different. Although in many ways HE has deemed us equals but not equal in all things………..May Allah guide us all…….. Recommend

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