Sarla Mudgal Case Comment

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ABSTRACT

This paper concerns itself with the case law Sarla Mudgal v. Union of India, AIR 1995 SC 1531. It is a review of the above mentioned case. The case holds extreme importance as it laid down principles against the practice of solemnizing second marriage by conversion to Islam, with first marriage not being dissolved, followed by Hindu husbands. This paper briefly states the facts of the case, issues raised in the case and discusses relevant laws applied in the case, decisions and analysis of the judgment followed by a conclusion. Several case laws which are related to the present case have been referred to and only relevant parts of the judgments have been taken into consideration.

RESEARCH METHODLOGY

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
This paper is written as a review of the much celebrated and important case Sarla Mudgal v. Union Of India, AIR 1995 SC 1531.

SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS
This paper is limited to the subject and issues of the case that is to be reviewed. Various other cases have been referred to for supporting the arguments stronger. Relevant parts of the judgment have been extracted. All the works and cases referred to in this paper have been properly cited and are related to the case Sarla Mudgal v. Union of India, AIR 1995 SC 1531.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS
This paper will answer the issues raised in the case. They are: 1. Does India need a Uniform Civil Code for all its citizens? 2. Whether a Hindu husband, married under Hindu law, by embracing Islam, can solemnize second marriage? 3. Whether such a marriage without having the first marriage dissolved under law, would be a valid marriage where the first wife who continues to be Hindu? 4. Whether the apostate husband would be guilty of the offence under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)?

METHOD OF WRITING
This paper has used FILAC (Facts, Issues, Laws, Analysis, Conclusion) approach for reviewing the case at hand.

SOURCES OF DATA
The researcher has mainly referred to the main case, Acts, and articles by publicists on the specified topic.

METHOD OF CITATION
A uniform mode of citation has been used throughout this project, based on the style specified in The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, 19th edition.

FACTS

There are two main petitioners to the case. Petitioner one is a registered society by the name Kalyani which helps needy and distressed women. Sarla Mudgal is the head of this organization. Another petitioner is Meena Mathur who was married to Jitender Mathur on February 27, 1978. Three children (two sons and a daughter) were born out of the marriage. In early 1988, the petitioner found out that her husband had solemnized second marriage with one Sunita Narula aka Fathima which took place after their conversion to Islam and adoption of Muslim religion. This conversion of her husband, as contended by the petitioner, was only for the purpose of marrying Sunita Narula and circumvented the provisions of Section 494 of IPC. Jitender Mathur contended that having embraced Islam, he can have four wives irrespective of the fact that his first wife continues to be Hindu. An interesting fact to be noted here is that Sunita alias Fathima is the petitioner in Writ Petition 347 of 1990. She contends that she along with Jitender Mathur who was earlier married to Meena Mathur embraced Islam and thereafter got married. A son was born to her. She further states that after marrying her, Jitender Prasad, under the influence of her first Hindu-wife, gave an undertaking on April 28, 1988 that he had reverted back to Hinduism and had agreed to maintain his first wife and three children. Her grievance is that she continues to be Muslim, not being maintained by her husband and has no protection under either of the personal laws. Another petitioner in Writ Petition 424 of 1992, Geeta Rani, who was married to Pradeep Kumar on November 3, 1988, alleged that her husband harassed her physically and mentally and once broke her jaw bone. In...
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