Marriage Law Does Not Shut the Door on Polygamy

Law Number 1 Year 1974 concerning Marriage (the Marriage Law) does not close the opportunity for a person who intends to get married more than once or to practice polygamy. Such was the conclusion of experts’ opinion in the judicial review of the Marriage Law in the main hearing room of the Constitutional Court (MK) building, Thursday (23/8).


Prof. Dr. Quraish Shihab, M.A., one of the experts of the Government stated that the requirements for polygamy practice implementation as stipulated in the Marriage Law have been intended to allow the polygamy practice to achieve the objective of a marriage itself. “The objective of a marriage is to create peacefulness. This means that every effort that does not create peacefulness is contrary to the objective of a marriage,” said Quraish Shihab.


Furthermore, the Islamic scholar who is also an expert in Islamic system of jurisprudence (fiqih) said, “The Islamic law principles allows the creation of new requirements which did not exist at the time of the Prophet, through which the objective of the law can realized. This also applies to polygamous marriage law,”


Another Government’s expert, Prof. Dr. Hj. Hujaemah T. Yanggo, affirmed that the marriage principle in Islam is monogamy. However, it does not shut the door on polygamy. “Therefore it is not contradictory to Human Rights,“ she said.


Meanwhile, Dr. Eggi Sudjana, SH., M.Si., Expert presented by the Petitioner deemed that the application of articles restricting polygamy practices, in Islamic religion construction, has violated Human Rights. According to Eggi Sudjana, in Islam, polygamy has become part of the religious observance. “The 1945 Constitution has guaranteed the right of every person to conduct the worship in accordance with his/her religion,” he added.


Eggi also deemed that the articles petitioned for judicial review have created difficulties to someone who intends to get married while on the other hand they made divorce easier.


With regard to such statement, the Director General of Islamic Community Guidance of the Department of Religious Affairs, Nasyaruddin Umar, said that amongst several causes, polygamy has in-fact been the most frequent cause of divorce. He also denied that the Religious Court has been deemed as impeding polygamy practices all this time. “Nearly 80 percent of the petitions of people wishing to practice polygamy have been granted by the Court,” he said in response to the statement of the Petitioner of judicial review who felt that his intention to practice polygamy had been impeded by the Court. 


The judicial review hearing of Article 3 Paragraph (1) and Paragraph (2), Article 4 Paragraph (1) and Paragraph (2), Article 5 Paragraph (1), Article 9, Article 15 and Article 24 of the Marriage Law against the 1945 Constitution with the agenda to hear the statements of experts, both presented by the Petitioner as well as by the Government was also attended by several Indirectly Related Parties. The Indirectly Related Parties among others were, the Women’s National Commission, Pro-Women National Legislation Program Network, and the Indonesian Women Congress. This judicial review was petitioned by M. Insa, SH. whose intention to practice polygamy was impeded by the provisions of the Marriage Law. [ardli]

Sunday, August 26, 2007 | 16:09 WIB 279