Former Haryana deputy chief minister Chandra Mohan’s remarriage after embracing Islam is illegal and can attract punishment under bigamy laws.
According to Islamic scholar and Law Commission member Tahir Mahmood, “If a married Hindu during the subsistence of his first marriage embraces Islam and marries again it is illegal and punishable under the Indian Penal Code even if conversion is absolutely genuine.”
“This is the current Indian law as settled by the Supreme Court in the 1995 Sarla Mudgal case — and it conforms to the true Islamic law on polygamy,” Mahmood told Hindustan Times. Under Section 494 of the IPC, bigamy invites a punishment of up to seven years in jail and fine.
In the Sarla Mudgal case, the court had ruled that a Hindu husband, married under the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, cannot marry a second time simply by embracing Islam. If he remarries without lawfully dissolving the first marriage, he would be guilty of bigamy.
Mahmood said: “Even born Muslims are not allowed such reckless prodigality by their religion and its law.” The idea that Islam gave a licence for indulging in bigamy to anyone converting was “sheer nonsense”, he said. Explaining the Islamic law, Mahmood said that traditional Islamic law allowed bigamy, in exceptional cases. That too only if the man treats his wives with absolute justice.
Chandra Mohan and Anuradha Bali, who became Chand Mohammad and Fiza respectively after converting to Islam, lost their jobs.