Indonesian Constitutional Court Decision No. 12 of 2007: Polygamy

In Indonesia, the Islamic practice of polygamy is circumscribed by specific provisions in Law No.1 of 1974 on Marriage. Mohammad Insa was a Muslim man who wished to take a second wife without any state interference, and without due consideration for the rights and feelings of his established wife. He argued that polygamy is a religious duty, and one that he was entitled to undertake in accordance with the 1945 Constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion. He petitioned the court for a judicial review of those legal restrictions on polygamous marriages. This decision to dismiss his petition was handed down by the court on 3 October 2007, after several months of lengthy deliberations and media attention. The court reasoned that art 28J(2) of the Constitution not only authorises the state to regulate religion, but obliges it do so.

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