Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday urged the people to send their suggestions on his government’s proposed law to ban polygamy in the state.
While appealing to the public for suggestions on his X (formerly Twitter) handle, the chief minister shared a government notice for the same. The notice quoted an expert committee report recommending that the Assam assembly is competent to enact a law banning polygamy.
“Articles 25 and 26 provide freedom of conscience and the right to practice religion. However, these rights are not absolute and are subject to public order, morality, health and legislative provisions for social welfare and reform. The courts have clarified that religious practices must be essential and integral to religion to receive protection”, the notice read.
“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 scope of “social welfare and reform”. Hence, laws favouring monogamy do not violate Article 25″, the government notice added.
“Considering these principles, the State of Assam would have the legislative competence to enact a state legislature to end polygamy,” it added.
On August 6, the expert committee formed by the Assam government to examine the legislative competence of the state legislature to enact a law to end polygamy had submitted its report to Sarma, who immediately announced that a legislation on the subject will be introduced within this financial year.
He had also claimed the committee unanimously agreed that the state can frame its own laws to end polygamy.
Hoisting the National Flag on the occasion of 77th Independence Day on August 15, Sarma in his official address said that a “strict act” will be brought soon to end polygamy in Assam.
On May 12, Sarma had announced the formation of the four-member expert committee headed by Justice (Retd) Rumi Kumari Phukan.