A Muslim marrying two sisters to maintain both: SC

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New Delhi, Mar 16 (UNI) The Supreme Court has ruled that if a Muslim man marries two sisters he is liable to maintain both and he cannot neglect the second sister on the grounds that his second marriage is 'batil' (void).

A bench comprising Justice Altamas Kabir in its judgement has ruled that such a marriage is only 'fasid' (irregular) and not void and therefore the second sister is entitled to maintenance alongwith her children under Section 125 CrPc. The apex court dismissed the petition of the husband, Chand Patel, challenging the High Court order upholding the right to maintenance of Bismillah Begum who had married the husband of her sister, Mustaqbee.

The apex court in its judgement said, ''Such marriage is merely irregular and not void so the right to get maintenance is not extinguished.'' The Supreme Court while answering a question whether a marriage performed by a person professing Muslim faith with his wife's sister, while his earlier marriage with the other sister is still subsisting, would be void in law or merely irregular or voidable even though the subsequent marriage has been consummated, said that the bar of unlawful conjunction renders a marriage irregular and not void.

The apex court also said, consequently under the Hanafi law, as far as Muslims in India are concerned, an irregular marriage continues to subsist till terminated in accordance with law. The Supreme Court directed the husband, Chand Patel, to pay all arrears to his second wife.

UNI SC AM HT1320

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