Muslim man’s wedding void if woman fails to convert, says HC

Adhik Vaishkh Krushna Trayodashi Kaliyug Varsha 5112

Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh) : The Allahabad High Court has held that a Muslim man’s marriage to a woman of another religion shall be considered void and against the tenets of Islam if he fails to get her converted to the religion before wedlock.

In its order, a division bench comprising Justices Vinod Prasad and Rajesh Chandra also ruled that remarriage of a Muslim man shall be held void if he abandons his first wife without divorcing her and fails to treat children born of the marriage in a fair and just manner.

The order was passed on Monday when the bench dismissed a writ petition of one Dilbar Habib Siddiqui, a resident of Allahabad, who had married a Hindu girl named Khushboo on December 29, last year.

Siddiqui had moved the court with the plea to quash the FIR lodged against him by Khushboo’s mother Sunita Jaiswal alleging that he had kidnapped her daughter, a minor at that time, and had compelled her to marry him.

Refuting the charges levelled against him in the FIR, Siddiqui produced a copy of Khushboo’s high school certificate to prove that she was a major at the time of marriage and her (Khushboo’s) representations to higher authorities, upon learning about the FIR, that the marriage was a result of mutual consent.

While holding that having more than one wife is permissible under Islam, the court, however, took strong note of the fact that before tying the knot with Khushboo, Siddiqui had not disclosed to her that he was already married and was the father of three children.

His first wife had appeared before the court during the course of the hearing and alleged that Siddiqui had abandoned her and their three children, compelling them to "live like destitutes".

The court noted that Siddiqui "albeit married, had deceived Khushboo Jaiswal, who did not intimate us that she was in the knowledge of the petitioner’s first marriage".

"For a valid Muslim marriage, both the spouses have to be Muslim. In the present writ petition, this condition is not satisfied", the court remarked and quoted from a verse in the Holy Quran which says, "Do not marry unbelieving women until they believe… Nor marry your girls to unbelievers until they believe".

Besides, the petitioner’s marriage to Khushboo without divorcing his first wife and not dealing with his three children in a fair and just manner was "against the tenets of the Holy Quran" and hence "cannot be legally sanctified", the court said.

The bench quoted the following verse from the holy book while making the above observation – "Marry woman of your choice, two, three or four; But if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one… that would be more suitable to prevent you from doing injustice".

Dismissing the petition, the court directed that investigations in the impugned FIR be conducted expeditiously and authorities of the Nari Niketan, where Khushboo is currently housed, hand her over to her parents.

Source: TOI

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