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The State of Bombay v. Narasu Appa Mali - (High Court of Bombay) (24 Jul 1951)

Personal laws not disturbed by fundamental rights



What could the Bombay High Court have said that stung Finance Minister Arun Jaitley so, leading him to call it “one of the most adverse judgments”. After all in 1951 the Bombay High Court, dissecting the Bombay Prevention of Hindu Bigamous Marriages Act, 1946, held that “even if the State Legislature has infringed upon Hindu religion or its practice as alleged, it would be perfectly competent for the State Legislature to do so, if it is legislating for social welfare and reform”. Subsequently upholding the aforementioned Act, it appears to have concreted positive social change in the shift away from bigamy to monogamous marriages in Hindus. Perhaps Mr Jaitley’s angst lies in personal laws being escaped from the ambit of Article 13 of the Constitution. Held to not form part of the “laws in force”, the decision allowed polygamy to subsist in other religions, possibly in contravention of Article 15.

Relevant : Article 13 of the Constitution of India Act Article 15 of the Constitution of India Act Article 25 of the Constitution of India Act


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