Is polygamy, nikah halala more important than Ayodhya and secularism, SC asked

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New Delhi, April 6 (IANS) The Supreme Court was on Friday asked if Ayodhya title issue was less important than the issue of polygamy, nikah halala, nikah mutah and nikah misyar amongst the Muslim community for the top court not referring the earlier matter for adjudication by a give judge constitution bench.

Raising the issue before the bench of Chief Justice Deepak Misra, Justice Ashok Bhusan and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, senior counsel Rajiv Dhawan cited the top court order of March 26 where appreciating the “importance of issue” involving challenge to polygamy and nikah halala, the court had referred the matter to a five judge constitution bench.

Appearing for the heir of a Muslim petitioner in Ayodhya title dispute, he asked the bench whether polygamy and nikah halala were more important than Ayodhya dispute so as to be adjudicated by a five judge constitution bench.

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“If the court has one criteria on the importance of an issue to be referred to the constitution bench, then why not same criteria for this (Ayodhya) issue”, Dhavan told the bench pointing out that Ayodhya is “the most important issue facing Indian secularism than polygamy and nikah halala”.

Telling the bench that he was posing the question with “serious anguish”, he again asked the court to tell “whether polygamy or secularism is important. I want people of India to know.

“I want to know, they (pointing to media) want to know, people want to know.”

“Let this court say that this matter is not sufficiently important than polygamy and nikah halala,” Dhavan said even as senior counsel K.Parasaran objected to the manner in which he was addressing the court.

Pointing to Dhavan saying that nation wants to know, Parasaran said: “Don’t we represent the nation” as he pointed out that there was distinction between polygamy and nikah halala issue and the reconsideration of 1994 judgement where the top court had said that mosque was not an essential part of practice of religion in Islam and Muslims can offer prayers in open under the sky.

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He asked the bench whether the court could be intimidated in this manner that it should first answer why it has referred the polygamy and nikah halala issue to a constitution bench and not the Ayodhya issue.

“‘People wants to know, nation wants to know’… this is not the way one should address the court,” Parasaran said, adding not only Dhavan, but he was equally responsible to the nation.

Justice Bhushan took exception as Dhavan repeatedly said that the matter be referred to the constitution bench as he will have to argue before the constitution bench and he will not repeat it once before the present bench and then the constitution bench.

“This is not the way one should argue. You are saying why should I argue the same before the constitution bench? This court has a procedure, it should be followed. You can’t say that I will not argue before you (three judge bench) as I have to argue before the constitution bench,” he said.

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At this point, Chief Justice Misra said, “We make one thing clear – that if anyone is troubled with that interim order (why its 1994 judgment needs reconsideration) be kept at bay.”

Thereafter Dhavan resumed his inclusive arguments from last hearing held on March 23. The next hearing is on April 27.

–IANS

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