Second marriage in Muslim Law to be considered as cruelty towards first wife

The Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka in Yusufpatel V. Ramjanbi [ MFA No. 201154/2018] held that even if second marriage is legal under Muslim Law it will be considered as cruelty towards the first wife which will justify her claim for divorcee.

The division bench of Hon’ble Justice Krishna S Dixit and Justice P. Krishna Bhat observed that “It needs to be stated that ‘marital cruelty’ as a concept, by its very nature defies definition; courts have emphasised that in the backdrop of spousal relationship, words, acts or conduct constituting cruelty are infinitely variable with the increasing complexities of modern life; no attempt at defining cruelty is likely to succeed, fully; merely because an act is lawful, it does not per se become justifiable in married life; for example, of course subject to all just exceptions, smoking and drinking are not unlawful; snoring too, is not; but still in certain circumstances they may amount to cruelty to a sensitive spouse; on the same analogy though contracting a second marriage by a Muslim may be lawful, but it more often than not, causes enormous cruelty to the first wife justifying her claim for divorce.”

The Hon’ble court further while relying on Itwari vs. Smt. Asghari, AIR 1960 Allahabad 684 observed that “The learned trial Judge having considered the pleadings of the parties and the evidentiary material placed on record has found that the appellant’s second marriage was brought about by the pressure of his parents; this apart, the appellant has admitted that the respondent-wife was put to torture by his parents; the explanation offered by him for espousing the second lady hardly constitutes any justification for opposing the claim of first wife for divorce on the ground of cruelty”

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