The Supreme Court of India ruled on Monday that the country’s Muslims have a right to practice their religion, but those rights do not extend to having multiple wives.
“What was protected under Article 25 (right to practice and propagate any religion) was the religious faith and not a practice which may run counter to public order, health or morality. Polygamy was not integral part of religion and monogamy was a reform within the power of the State under Article 25,” read the judgement from Supreme Court Justices T. S. Thakur and A. K. Goel.
The justices also ruled that it was essential for public order that India regulate marriage issues, including those dealing with polygamy practices.
The Justices ruled that polygamy was not important enough to religion to guarantee it within India’s laws. The ruling upheld a judgement where a government employee was fired for misconduct after he had a second marriage while already married.
The judgement continued: “as regards the charge of misconduct in question, it is patent that there is no material on record to show that the appellant divorced his first wife before the second marriage or he informed the Government about contracting the second marriage. In absence thereof, the second marriage is a misconduct under the Conduct Rules.”
Khursheed Ahmad Khan, who was fired from his government job, worked as an irrigation supervisor, according to the India Times. When the sister of his first wife found out that Khan had gone through with his second marriage, she filed a complaint with India’s National Human Rights Commission.