Justice B Kemal Pasha of the Kerala High Court created stirred the hornets’ nest on Sunday when he rhetorically asked why Muslim women can’t marry four times if men can, under the Muslim Personal Law.
Judge Pasha made this comment while inaugurating a seminar on ‘Protecting Women from Domestic Violence’, organised by a Muslim women’s forum. “Though the Holy Quran says that only the bridegroom should provide ‘Mahr’ to marry a girl, it does not happen in our country as womanhood was weak”, said judge Pasha.
The judge said that Muslim personal laws were heavily loaded in favour of men. Also on talking about dowry, he noted that it could be eradicated only by creating awareness among the public.
“Our mindset should change. Women should come forward to boycott the demand for dowry in marriage,” he said.
Justice Pasha also asked religious heads to go for self-introspection before making judgements on sensitive issues.
“Religious heads should go for a self-introspection on whether they are eligible to pronounce a verdict or not,” he said.
Regarding divorce by pronouncing triple “Talaq”, Justice Pasha said, “Both the husband and wife are human beings. There should be enough time for them to come to a conclusion.”
“All laws insist on dignified life and our Constitution also gives protection to all through Articles 14 and 21… Protection of women from domestic violence will be meaningful only if several points, including the rights of a woman to her husband’s property are properly defined,” he said. “If she is married to a person, it is an implied contract to provide her safety and security,” he added.
He said that many problems with the Muslim personal laws are owing to the fact that they are not coded properly.
“Currently, the courts are rendering justice on the basis of precedence and on the basis of the Mohammedan Law as compiled by legal expert DF Mulla. What is being implemented is not fully as per Koranic verses. Let the personal law be codified as per the principles of Koran which had expounded equality for man and woman,” the judge was quoted as saying.