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Where a non-Muslim gets converted to the Muslim faith without any real change in belief and merely with a view to avoid an earlier marriage or to enter into a second marriage, in such a case, whether the marriage entered into by him after conversion would be void and whether the apostate husband would be guilty of the offence of Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code?

Whether apprehension of a person for charges of bigamy after religious conversion is a breach of the fundamental right to life and liberty due to the Sarla Mudgal judgement or not?

Whether the Sarla Mudghal judgement which criminalizes the second marriage after conversion to Islam during the subsistence of previous marriage violates Article 25 of the Indian Constitution which talks about the right to freedom of religion?


Mere conversion does not bring to an end the marital ties unless a decree for divorce on that ground is obtained from the Court. Till a decree is passed, the marriage subsists. Any other marriage, during the subsistence of the first marriage, would constitute an offence under Section 494 read with Section 17 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and the person, in spite of his conversion to some other religion, would be liable to be prosecuted for the offence of bigamy.

Even under the Muslim Law, a plurality of marriages is not unconditionally conferred upon the husband. It would, therefore, be doing injustice to Islamic Law to urge that the convert is entitled to practice bigamy notwithstanding the continuance of his marriage under the law to which he belonged before conversion.

The violators of law who have contracted the second marriage cannot be permitted to urge that such marriage should not be made the subject matter of prosecution under the general Penal Law. The Islam which is pious, progressive, and respected religion with a rational outlook cannot be given a narrow concept as has been tried to be done by the alleged violators of the law.

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