Judge Swati Chauhan in her May 13 order pointed out that the law and religion do not allow a Muslim man to perform another marriage as a right by defeating and delaying the rights of his first wife.
Dr Abdul Pasha (name changed), a resident of Worli in Mumbai, has been firmly ordered not to perform another marriage till the January 30, 2015 order to grant his estranged wife Begum Hasina (name changed) alternate place for stay is complied with. Also, her prayers for maintenance post divorce (alimony) should also be heard, decided and to be fully complied with, the judge ordered.
It is said that Hasina (34) had moved the court after finding that Pasha (45) had posted an online advertisement on a matrimonial website stating that he is “desirous of marrying an unmarried young girl in the age group of 18-25 years”. She feared that Pasha’s remarriage would “frustrate and defeat her lawful rights”.
The couple moved to the US after getting married on May 27, 2001 and they got four sons, aged between 12 and 4 years. But serious differences cropped up between the couple when they were about to return to Mumbai in September 2011 and take a leased flat in Versova locality.
First, Hasina approached a family court in Bandra for the custody of her three older children alleging that Pasha without her consent had taken away from her. Further, she claimed that the landlord had asked her vacate the flat in Versova in July 2014.
She pointed out Pasha had not complied with the court’s earlier order to allow her access to her three sons and provide a secure housing for stay. Further, she pleaded with the court to direct Pasha not to marry another woman till her rights are fully met by her estranged husbad.
Pasha’s advocate argued that his client had divorced Hasina, who had accepted the talaq and had not challenged it. Also, he said the disputant couple is governed under the Muslim Personal Law and therefore a husband cannot be restricted from exercising his right to perform four marriages.
Holy Quran misinterpreted
Hasina’s advocate Neelofar Akhtar countered that a husband can be restrained under the law and religion if he is defeating the due and well-prescribed rights of his first wife.
Further, she argued that the accepted perception of four marriages is nothing but a “misrepresentation of the holy Quran”. Akhtar cited the surah nisa ayat 3 and 129 saying Muslim men are permitted to enter into four marriages but it is possible after compliance of certain stipulations which serve as injunction.
Judge Chauhan declared that after careful reading of Quran’s English version, it is understood that Muslim men are preached that they can marry for the second time only if they can devote equal time and care to both the women.
“In the same breath the surah nisa further states that practically this is not possible and therefore second marriage should not be contracted because it will cause injustice,” she added.
Chauhan pointed out that various authoritative writings on Islam have discouraged polygamy and stringent conditions were imposed on men even during the lifetime of Prophet Mohammad.
Flaying Pasha for his conduct, the Judge said his behaviour was absolutely against the injunction of Holy Quran as he had shown least care towards the issues of food, clothing, maintenance and accommodation of the aggrieved petitioner (his estranged wife).
Citing the Supreme Court’s February 2015 judgement in Khursheed Ahmad Khan versus UP state which was also relied upon by Akhtar, the Judge said a practice cannot acquire religious sanction just because it was permitted and even the practice of having more than one wife has to be prohibited in the interest of public order, morality and health.