For Second Marriage Muslim women Need Divorce: Hearing a petition that sought protection to life and liberty of a Muslim couple of Mewat district in Haryana, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday said that unlike a Muslim woman a Muslim man can marry another woman without divorcing the first wife. Importantly, Muslim women are yet to receive this privilege.
According to Justice Alka Sarin, a “Muslim lady” will have to get a divorce from her first husband before marrying another under the Muslim Marriage Act 1939.
The Case: For Second Marriage Muslim women Need Divorce
A Haryana-based Muslim couple approached the High Court and the woman alleged that her first marriage was against her will and that is why she is now married for the second time. They were both married in the past and in the plea had stated that they have been in love with each other for many years and have performed nikah on January 19, 2021, as per nikahnama.
However, the High Court was told that the woman’s relatives were against the relationship. The petitioners submitted pleas saying that this is the second marriage for both of them, who were earlier “forcefully married” (to different people), and the woman had filed a case against her earlier in-laws. The court also learnt that the family members were also threatening to kill the couple and evict them from the property.
On this, the Bench then said, “A Muslim man may get married more than once without divorcing his earlier wife, but the same does not apply to a Muslim lady.”
Adding, “A Muslim lady has to divorce her first husband, either under the Muslim Personal Law or under the provisions of the Muslim Marriages Act, 1939, before contracting a second marriage. In fact, the alleged marriage itself between petitioner no.1 and petitioner no.2 would be illegal in as much as this marriage has been contracted without the petitioner no.1 being legally divorced.”
The ruling comes almost two years after the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act was introduced in 2019, which prohibits a Muslim man from divorcing his wife by pronouncing ‘talaq‘ thrice in one occasion.