On Thursday, the Supreme Court announced that it will establish a new Constitution bench consisting of five judges at a suitable time to consider petitions that challenge the constitutionality of polygamy and ‘nikah halala’ inside the Muslim community.
“I will consider it. At an appropriate stage, I will constitute a constitution bench,” the CJI responded. Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on the matter of polygamy has been filed by Lawyer Awshini Upadhyay. He urged a bench consisting of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala to that section 494 of the Indian Penal Code, directly allows the practice of polygamy and halala, this section needs to be quashed from IPC.
The previous year, on August 30th, a group of five judges from the apex court including Justice Indira Banerjee, Justice Hemant Gupta, Justice Surya Kant, Justice M M Sundresh, and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia added the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), National Commission for Women (NCW), and National Commission for Minorities (NCM) as parties to the Public Interest Litigations (PILs) and requested their feedback.
Justice Banerjee and Gupta both retired last year respectively, in this situation reconstitution of the bench is essential. There were many as eight petitions in line challenging the practice of polygamy and ‘nikah halala’ that required to be heard.
In his litigation, Upadhyay has appealed a ruling to announce both polygamy and ‘nikah halala’ as illegal practices and unconstitutional. Polygamy permits a Muslim man to have up to four wives, while ‘nikah halala’ is the process that requires a Muslim woman seeking to remarry her former husband after divorce to first marry another person and obtain a divorce from him after consummation.
In July 2018, the highest court reviewed the request and directed the matter to a Constitution bench that was already responsible for hearing several other petitions of a similar nature.