The Supreme Court of Pakistan has made it mandatory for all men to consent their first wife or a nod from an arbitration council before opting for a second marriage. The top court made the decision on Wednesday. The decision was issued on a petition filed by Muhammad Jamil against a 2018 Peshawar High Court (PHC) judgment. The petition was regarding a suit filed by his ex-wife Sajida Bibi. She was seeking the recovery of Mehr, dowry articles, and gold ornaments.
A two-judge bench comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Sayyed
Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi made the decision. The judges observed that Jamil had contracted a second marriage without the permission of her wife. Section-6 of the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961 prohibits contracting second marriage without prior permission of the Arbitration Council. The Supreme Court said Jamil was liable to pay her dower immediately under Section 6(5)(a) of the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961.
The judgment made under the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance
Section-(6)(5)(a) of the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance reads, “Any man
who contracts another marriage without the permission of the Arbitration
The council shall pay immediately the entire amount of dower whether prompt or deferred, due to the existing wife or wives which amount, if not so paid shall be recoverable as arrears of land revenue.”
Within this context, the Supreme court said in its judgment “It is now
abundantly clear that the entire amount of dower fixed at the time of marriage whether prompt or deferred is immediately payable on account of the second marriage.”
The judgment also states that the law has not placed any restriction to
contract a second marriage. It only relates to seeking permission before entering into a second marriage. This will help to regulate the structure of society as a whole. The court also said any deviation from the provision of Section-6 will result in a number of issues. This will frustrate the fabric of
relationships within society.
After hearing arguments from both sides, the SC ruled that the judgment by a single bench of the PHC ordering the immediate payment of dower of five tolas of gold is “quite in accordance with [the] law”.
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