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marriage without completing ‘iddat’ neither void nor adultery: LHC

In the verdict, Justice Bajwa remarked that a valid marriage is the one which is free from defects and is in conformity with the Shariah requirements.

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) has given a ruling that a marriage without completing iddat could not be treated as void and does not constitute the cognizable offence of zina (adultery). Iddat is a period spanning four months after separation between a married Muslim couple or death of the husband.

Lahore High Court gave this ruling on a petition of Ameer Bakhsh who said his wife committed zina by contracting a marriage without completing her iddat. LHC Judge, Justice Ali Zia Bajwa explained that a woman’s marriage before completion of her iddat period would be irregular, but not void. In this case, iddat refers to a period a woman has to observe after dissolution of a marriage.

The Petitioner had challenged a decision of ex-officio justice of peace in Muzaffargarh whereby his request for registration of a criminal case against his ex- wife and her new husband was dismissed.

Petitioner Ameer Bakhsh said Amina Bibi was legally married to him and residing in his house being his legally wedded wife. He further said that with mala fide intentions, his wife secretly filed a suit for dissolution of marriage and got the decree ex-parte against him from a family court.

The petitioner challenged the dec­ree and his application was still pending before the family court in Muzaffargarh.

The petitioner said his wife Amina Bibi, after obtaining the ex-parte decree got married to Mohammad Ismail the next day without observing iddat as mentioned in the holy Quran. Ameer Bakhsh said this act of his wife and the respondent (new husband) was against the teachings of Islam and it was adultery (zina) under the Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance 1979, which was a cognizable offence.

Ameer Bakhsh said that the justice of peace dismissed his application without applying his judicious mind and without appraising the facts.

In the verdict, Justice Bajwa remarked that a Sahih (valid) marriage was the one which was free from defects and infirmities and was in conformity with the Shariah requirements.

He further explained that for a valid marriage, it was necessary that there was no legal prohibition affecting the capacity of the parties to marry. A marriage which is short of a valid marriage will be an invalid marriage.

Javed Mahmood
Written By

I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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