Ahmedabad: In a strongly-worded order, the Gujarat High Court Thursday said the Quran was being misinterpreted by Muslim men to have more than one wife and the provision of polygamy was being misused by them for “selfish reasons”.
The high court also stated that time has come for the country to embrace the uniform civil code as such provisions are in violation of the Constitution.
Justice J B Pardiwala made these observations while pronouncing the order related to section 494 of IPC, which deals with punishment for having more than one wife.
The petitioner, Jafar Abbas Merchant, had approached the high court to quash an FIR against him filed by his wife who alleged that he got married to another woman without her consent.
In the FIR, she invoked section 494 of IPC (marrying again during lifetime of husband or wife) against Jafar.
In his plea, Jafar, however, claimed that the Muslim Personal Law allows Muslim men to marry four times and hence the FIR against him does not stand legal scrutiny.
In the order, Pardiwala noted “the Quran is being misinterpreted by Muslim men to have more than one wife.”
“When the Quran allowed polygamy, it was for a fair reason. When men use that provision today, they do it for a selfish reason. Polygamy finds mention in the Quran only once, and it is about conditional polygamy,” the order said.
“Muslim Personal Law does not permit a Muslim to treat one wife cruelly, drive her out of the matrimonial home and then get married for the second time. However, there is no law in this country which takes care of this situation. There is no uniform civil code in this country,” it said.
The high court put the onus on the government to do the needful with regards to the uniform civil code.
“On the basis of modern, progressive thinking, India must shun the practice and establish uniform civil code,” stated the judgment.