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Kerala Muslim cleric vows to preserve polygamy

Wednesday, 12 November 2008 - 3:39am IST
The leader of a dominant Muslim group in Kerala has strongly condemned any move to ban polygamy.

‘A second wife is biologically justified. Women’s menstrual cycle prevents them from sexual contact for 5-6 days’

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The leader of a dominant Muslim group in Kerala has strongly condemned any move to ban polygamy.  The community will oppose any piece of legislation aimed at curbing the practice, said Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musaliar, a Sunni leader.

His observations come in the backdrop of a Kerala high court observation that polygamy among Muslims violates principles of religious ethics and social justice. A division bench on October 22 mooted adequate legislation to curb “indiscreet marriage and divorce” and sought a national and local level conciliation council to monitor individual cases.

Justices Kurian Joseph and Harun-Ul-Rasheed, while deciding a matrimonial case, observed that though polygamy was allowed in Islam, there was no system in India to supervise or control indiscreet marriage and divorce. The judges appealed to all concerned to study the problems faced by ‘helpless and destitute women and children’ that such practices give birth to.

The state law reforms commission, led by Justice VR Krishna Iyer, has come out with a draft Bill to check polygamy and divorce by talaq. The Kerala Muslim Marriage and Dissolution by Talaq (Regulation) Bill seeks to legislate that ‘monogamy shall be the rule’ and that ‘marrying again during the lifetime of husband or wife is an offence.’

The proposed Bill provides for remarriage by husband in exceptional cases “with the (wife’s) consent in writing before a notary public or a judicial officer expressing her consent to the second marriage and briefly giving her reasons for the consent.” It wants that “if any married Muslim, man or woman, marries again during the subsistence of the first marriage, the party who violates shall be guilty of bigamy under the IPC and punishable as such.”

But Aboobacker says, “Islam had sanctioned polygamy under certain circumstances long before we were born. Trying to ban it is against the Holy Quran and humanity. We will oppose any new law aimed at banning polygamy. There are enough laws to regulate civic affairs. If someone tries to bypass it, the government should check it,” he told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday.

He had earlier said polygamy was biologically justified. He said that women’s menstrual cycle prevented them from sexual contact for five-six days. Hence a second wife was justified. “It’s sanctioned by Islam,” he said.
s_don@dnaindia.net




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