The Kerala High Court has held that restraining a person from acting in accordance with personal belief and practice would amount to encroaching on their constitutionally protected rights.

The Bench of Justice A. Muhamed Mustaque and Justice Sophy Thomas further while holding so, observed that the Courts cannot restrict a Muslim man to marry more than one woman as per their personal law.

"The right to marry more than one person at a time is prescribed under the personal law. If the law ensures such protection, it is not for the Court to decide that one person should not act in accordance with the personal conscious and belief in accordance with his religious practices," the Bench observed.

The Bench made these observations while dealing with a petition challenging temporary injunction granted by the Family Court whereby the petitioner-Muslim man was restrained from pronouncing Talaq. Further, the Family Court had also allowed the plea of petitioner's wife seeking to restrain him from conducting a second marriage.

Advocate Majida S. appeared for the petitioner whereas Advocate Suresh Kumar appeared for the respondent-wife.

The High Court observed that the Court cannot ignore Article 25 of the Constitution, which allows one to profess and practice their religion. The Court noted that orders restraining one from acting in accordance with the personal belief and practice, would amount to encroaching their constitutionally protected rights.

"No doubt, aggrieved can challenge any action emanates out of exercise of faith and practice; if it was not done in accordance with the personal law, belief and practice but that stage would arise only after the performance of the act. The jurisdiction of the Court is limited in these kinds of processes. The Family Court cannot restrain a person performing his act in accordance with the personal law.", the Bench held.

"The Court has no role to restrain or regulate one's behavior or decision in accordance with the personal law guarantied.", the Court observed.

Accordingly, the Court set aside both orders restraining the petitioner from pronouncing talaq as well as restraining him from conducting the second marriage. However, the Court expressed that the respondent-wife can approach the competent Court if Talaq is not exercised in accordance with the law.

Cause Title- Anvarudeen v. Sabina

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