The Supreme Court on March 26, 2018 issued notices to the Centre and the Law Commission on petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the prevalent practices of polygamy and nikah halala among the Muslim community.
One of the petitioners argued that the 2017 judgement of the Supreme Court, which had held instant triple talaq as unconstitutional, did not address the issues of polygamy and 'nikah halala' and had left them open.
The judge’s bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered the submission and stated that a fresh five-judge constitution bench would be set up to deal with the constitutionality of 'nikah halala' and polygamy.
What is Polygamy?
The practice of polygamy allows a man to have more than one wife without violating any of the marriage laws.
What is Nikah Halala?
Under the practice, if a Muslim woman after being divorced by her husband wants to go back to him, then she has to marry another person, consummate the marriage and then get a divorce and then get re-married to her first husband.
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In August 2017, a five-judge bench (comprising judges belonging to five different religions) with a majority of 3: 2 had pronounced the Islamic practice of triple talaq as unconstitutional, after prolonged debate, discussion and hearings.
The current judgement came while the court was hearing at least three petitions including some PILs challenging the traditional Islamic practices of 'nikah halala' and polygamy on various grounds including that they violate right to equality and gender justice.