A Muslim man’s reluctance to fulfill his marital vows with his first wife after a second marriage is a good reason for divorce.
Kerala high court has ruled refusing to cohabit and fulfill marital obligations with the previous wife is a violation of Quranic injunctions that demand equal treatment of women if the male contracts more than one marriage.
A division bench of Justices A. Muhamed Mustaque and Sophy Thomas was hearing an appeal filed by a Muslim woman who was dissatisfied with a Family Court judgment that refused her a divorce decree.
She married in 1991 and they had three children together. During his time overseas, the man entered into a marriage with another lady.
Feeling aggrieved, the appellant’s wife filed a divorce petition.
The Court held that if there is a marriage with another lady during the subsistence of the previous marriage, the burden is on the husband to prove that he treated both wives equitably in accordance with the injunctions of the Quran.
According to Section 2(ii), the wife is entitled to a divorce if her husband has neglected or failed to provide for her support for two years.
However, a review of the records revealed that the husband used to give support for the appellant while he was away and thus agreed with the Trial Court’s decision on this point.
The Court noted that the divorce petition was filed in 2019. They had been living apart for at least five years prior to submitting this petition. In these circumstances, the Court found that the appellant has successfully established a foundation for divorce under Section 2(iv) of the Act.
“Because there had been no cohabitation in the previous five years, the Court determined that the case of bodily or mental mistreatment could not be justified under the Act. Noting that reluctance to cohabit and execute marital obligations with the prior wife is a violation of Quranic injunctions, the Court determined that this was a suitable case for a divorce to be granted,” the court said.