Assam govt seeks public suggestion on banning polygamy

Himanta Biswa Sarma with Narendra Modi. [Photo: Wikimedia Commons]

Guwahati: Following an expert committee’s report on banning polygamy in Assam, the state government has sought suggestions from the general public on the issue before it heads to enact a law during the Assembly session in September.

In its report, the committee said that the Indian Constitution gives the Union and states the power to create legislation on specific issues.

Marriage is on the concurrent list, therefore both the government of India and the states can establish laws governing it.

The Doctrine of Repugnancy (Article 254) says that if a state law conflicts with central law, the central law will take precedence unless the state law has the prior approval of the President of India, according to the committee’s findings.

Additionally, it was said in the report that Articles 25 and 26 of the constitution guarantee religious freedom and freedom of conscience. These rights are not unalienable; rather, they are constrained by laws governing social welfare and reform as well as public morality, health, and order.

“With respect to Islam, the courts have held that having more than one wife is not an essential part of the religion. Legislation limiting the number of wives does not interfere with the right to practice religion and is within the scope of social welfare and reform. Hence, laws favouring monogamy do not violate Article 25,” the committee said in the report.

In light of these values, the committee recommended that the Assam government be given the legal authority to pass a state legislature that outlaws polygamy, news agency reported.

The committee further requested input from the general public on the draft bill to outlaw polygamy in Assam.

As per a government notification, the general public can put forward their suggestions upto August 30.

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