Kerala high court judge Justice B Kamal Pasha stirred a hornet’s nest on Sunday by asking why Muslim women could not have four husbands while the men enjoyed the same privilege under the Muslim personal law.
Addressing a seminar organised by an NGO run by women lawyers in Kozhikode, Pasha said Muslim personal laws are heavily loaded against women. He blamed religious heads for establishing the hegemony of men and wanted them to introspect during religious discourses on sensitive issues.
Under the Muslim personal law, a man can marry four times. Although many Muslim countries have banned polygamy, it is still prevalent in India.
“Religious heads should do self-introspection whether they are eligible to pronounce one-sided verdicts. People should also think about the eligibility of persons who are pronouncing such verdicts,” he said, adding that women were deprived even of the rights enshrined in the Quran.
Pasha also said that it was unfair to oppose a uniform civil code. “Even the highest court is a bit reluctant to interfere in this. Women should come forward to end this injustice,” he said.
“Personal law is loaded with discrimination. Besides denying equality, it also denies women’s right to property and other issues,” he said. The judge added that the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, will be fruitful if the right of a woman to her husband’s property is properly defined.