New Delhi, Dec 4 : A plea has been moved in the Supreme Court seeking to declare the practice of bigamy unconstitutional, oppressive towards women and opposed to equality.
The petition, filed by five individuals through advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain, has urged the apex court to issue a direction to strike down section 2 of Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 in so far it recognises the system of bigamy/ polygamy prevalent in Muslim community.
“A second marriage solemnised by a Hindu, Christian or Parsi during the lifetime of his spouse would be punishable under Section 494 of IPC but at the same time, such marriage is not punishable if conducted by a Muslim. Therefore, Section 494 is making discrimination only on the basis of religion, which is perse in violation of Article 14 and 15(1) of the Constitution”, said the plea.
It contended that bigamy is irrational, illogical, discriminatory and oppressive for women and affects her life and liberty and hits Article 21 of the Constitution.
The plea has argued that in India the irony is that bigamy has been made punishable under Section 494 of IPC subject to applicability of personal law. “The question is as to whether state can make criminal law in such a manner which may create discrimination and same act may be punishable for someone but for others enjoyable,” said the plea.
The plea submitted that penal action cannot be differentiated on the basis of religious practice and penal law has to be made applicable uniformly having no relation with personal law applicable to the offender. The plea cited that bigamy is not prevalent amongst Hindus, Christians and Parsis and is only recognised by Muslim community.
The petitioners alleged that the women are worst sufferers due to solemnising marriage or marriages by her husband and she is bound to lead life like a slave.