Assam looking to ban polygamy, says CM Himanta Biswa Sarma, sets up panel

By Saraswat Kashyap: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday said that his government would study if it was possible for the state to impose a ban on polygamy, a move seen as the BJP-governed state inching towards the Uniform Civil Code (UCC).

The government has also decided to constitute an expert committee to explore the legal aspects.

The expert committee will investigate whether the state government has the authority to invoke its decision to prohibit polygamy in the state.

“The Assam Government has decided to form an expert committee to examine whether the state Legislature is empowered to prohibit polygamy in the state. The committee will examine the provisions of The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Act, 1937 read with Article 25 of the Constitution of India, Vis-a-Vis the directive principle of state policy,” said the chief minister in a tweet.

“The committee will engage in extensive discussions with all stakeholders, including legal experts, to arrive at a well-informed decision,” he added.

The committee will scrutinise the provisions of “The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Act, 1937, along with Article 25 of the Constitution, to make a well-informed decision.

This comes months after Supreme Court said that it would set up a five-judge Constitution bench to hear pleas challenging the constitutional validity of polygamy and ‘nikah halala’ practice among Muslims.

A bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha took note of the submissions of lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay, who has filed one of the PILs on the issue, that a fresh five-judge bench was needed to be constituted as two judges of the previous constitution bench — Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Hemant Gupta — have retired.

“There are very important matters which are pending before a five-judge bench. We will constitute one and bear this matter in mind,” the CJI said.

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