Libertatem Magazine

Performance of Second Marriage During Existence of First Marriage

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In Khursheed Ahmad Khan v. State of U.P., the appellant was employed as an Irrigation Supervisor in the Irrigation Department of U.P. Government. He had contracted second marriage during subsistence of the first marriage and was consequently terminated after giving charge sheet. He contended that he had divorced the first wife but the same was rejected based on his earlier statement denying such divorce. The appellant filed a petition challenging the HC order and the constitutional validity of the Rule 29(1) vis-à-vis Article 25 of the Constitution of India since under under Muslim personal law, it is permitted to contract four marriages. Rule 29(1) of the U.P. Government Servant Conduct Rules, 1956 lays down ground for removal from service as a misconduct by contracting another marriage during existence of the first marriage without permission of the Government. Clarifying the position of Article 25, the apex court held that Art. 25 protect religious faith and not practice which may run counter to public order, morality or health. Monogamy reform is under state power (section 25 of the Constitution of India) and polygamy is not integral part of religion.

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