Consequences of Second Marriage without Consent

Question: What are the legal consequences of entering into a subsequent marriage without the consent of the Arbitration Council?


The consequences of entering into a marriage without the consent of the Arbitration Council are as follows:

  1. The new marriage contract will not be registered under the Muslim Family Law Ordinance 1961;
  2. The husband shall immediately pay the entire amount of the dower, whether prompt or deferred, due to the existing wife or wives, which amount, if not so paid, shall be recoverable as arrears of land revenue; and
  3. He shall also face simple imprisonment for a period which may extend to three months and with fine of five hundred thousand rupees.

Note:  However if a complaint is made against the husband in the family court by either his aggrieved wife, Union Council or Arbitration Council for failure to follow the procedure of polygamy provided under law that is permission of the Arbitration Council and the court finds him guilty then he may be sentenced to simple imprisonment for a period that may extend up to year with a fine of five hundred thousand rupees.

Reasons for Second Marriage

Question: Under what circumstances does the Arbitration Council grant permission to a Muslim husband to enter into a second or subsequent marriage?


There is no set guideline that the Arbitration Council follows to grant permission for second marriage or subsequent marriage. It is their sole discretion to decide when an application for a new marriage is just and necessary. However, the Arbitration Council as general practice considers the following circumstances when granting permission: sterility, physical infirmity,  physical unfitness for the conjugal relation, willful avoidance of a decree for restitution of conjugal rights, or insanity on the parts of the existing wife.

Permission for Second Marriage

Question: I wish to marry again without divorcing my existing wife. How may I do that?


Any husband intending to enter into polygamy shall make an application to the Chairman/Union Council, listing down his desire to re-marry and reasons for the proposed marriage. He shall also specify if consent has been acquired by the previous wife or/wives. On receipt of the application, the Chairman/Union Council shall request the existing wife/wives to nominate a representative, collectively constituting an Arbitration Council. After much discussion the Arbitration Council, if satisfied that the proposed marriage is necessary and just will grant permission to the husband to enter into a new marriage contract.

Second Marriage Without Consent

Question: My husband has secretly entered into a second marriage contract without my consent; can I bring any legal action against him?


Yes, you can! The law empowers an aggrieved wife to bring a complaint against her husband in the family court if he has entered into the second marriage contract without acquiring the consent of the Arbitration Council, which constitutes of the Union Council and the existing wife/wives representatives. The law is clear on the point that a Muslim man can only enter into a subsequent marriage if the Arbitration Council considers his proposition of second marriage to be necessary and just and grants him permission. Any new marriage contract that is entered with the willful disregard of the consent of the Arbitration Council is a breach of law and capable of punishment.