Bigamy is punishable under S. 494 of IPC, should be punishable under Shariat Law


Petiton in SC filed by advocate Vishnu Shanker Jain challenges bigamy under Shariat law.


While there exists a clear bar under law on polygamous relationships under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which makes it punishable, such personal laws make its provision discriminatory as other religions are unable to enjoy this benefit.


1.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 the 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.

2.The petition has sought striking down Section 2 of Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 which recognises the system of bigamy or polygamy prevalent in Muslim community.

3.The system of bigamy is the history of past and has no place in present day scenario at International level.

4.There is unanimity between nations that such a practice is unscrupulous, discriminatory, exploitative and anti-women, and must come to an end.

5.In any case in which such marriage is void by reasons of its taking place” occurring in Section 494 of IPC be read down or struck down as the same is discriminatory and oppressive for women and will be hit by Article 14 (right to equality) and 15(1) (Right against discrimination) of the Constitution of India.

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