‘Muslim family law should be unified’: Women’s movement calls for ban on polygamy, child marriage and halal marriage

Mumbai:  A new set of demands has been made by the Muslim Women’s Movement to mark the second anniversary of the passage of the Triple talaq Prohibition Act. Polygamy, child marriage and halal marriage, which are practices among Muslims, are among the issues the women’s movement is calling for legislation to end.

Nikah halala is a law that mandates a woman to marry and sleep with another man in order to return to her first husband. There have been cases where the husband regrets divorcing his wife through triple talaq and in the expectation of reconciliation, hands over his divorced wife to another man for marriage, under the condition that the latter would divorce the woman the next day.


Women’s movements also called for the unification of Muslim family law by banning discriminatory practices such as Triple talaq (Mutwalaq), polygamy, child marriage and halal nikah. Noor Jahan Safia Niaz, one of the founders of the women’s movement, said that the Supreme Court should take up the public interest litigation against polygamy and halal marriage and issue an order as soon as possible.

Over 40 cases of polygamy were brought to the attention of the women’s movement in 2019 and 2020. Noor Jahan Safia Niaz said that while many men still use polygamy for divorce, they are not opting for  Triple talaq now. According to Rukhsar Memon, the police were also reluctant to file FIRs on complaints of abused women. Women’s movement filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking a ban on Triple talaq.

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Women’s movement filed the petition in the Supreme Court seeking a ban on Triple talaq following which the Supreme Court declared Triple talaq to be illegal in 2017, and the Central Government made it a criminal offense in 2019. A conviction for Triple talaq can lead to a prison term of up to three years.


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