The Assam government has constituted a three-member panel to draft the proposed law to end polygamy in the State, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Sunday.
The members of this committee are Advocate-General Devajit Saikia, Legal Remembrancer Kuntal Sharma Pathak, and Director-General of Police Gyanendra Pratap Singh.
Mr. Sarma said the Assam government had earlier formed a committee headed by former Gauhati High Court judge, Justice Rumi Phookan (retd.), to examine the legislative competence of the State legislature to enact an anti-polygamy law.
“We first wanted to check if the State government has the right to ban polygamy. The committee chaired by Justice Phookan said the government has the right,” he told reporters.
He said the State government had sought public viewed on the proposed anti-polygamy law. Of the 149 individuals and organisations that responded, 146 supported the move and three opposed it.
Mr. Sarma said the government had assigned the new three-member committee to draft the proposed anti-polygamy law in keeping with a pre-2021 Assembly election promise to end such a practice and “love jihad”.
He was hopeful that the committee would prepare the draft in 45 days for an anti-polygamy Bill to be introduced in the 126-member Assembly when it sits in December.
The Justice Phookan panel had scrutinised the provisions of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Act, 1937, along with Article 25 of the Constitution of India, in relation to the Directive Principles of State Policy for a uniform civil code.
The Chief Minister had earlier said a lot of cases of polygamy were detected in southern Assam’s Barak Valley and central Assam’s Jamunamukh and Hojai. These areas have a sizeable population of Bengali-speaking Muslims.
There are hardly any cases of polygamy among indigenous Muslims and others who are educated, he had said.