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Supreme Court Rules Ambiguous Terms in Nikah Cannot Be Used Against Bride

Supreme Court Rules Ambiguous Terms in Nikah Cannot Be Used Against Bride

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has made a groundbreaking decision, emphasizing the importance of granting women autonomy and freedom in expressing consent within marriage contracts. The ruling, issued by a two-member bench, underscores the need for clarity and understanding in marriage contracts.

Authored by Justice Athar Minallah, the verdict emphasizes that brides have the right to freely express their consent before finalizing the terms and conditions of a marriage contract. It asserts that any ambiguity or uncertainty within the contract should be interpreted to benefit the wife.

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This decision sets a legal precedent, stating that in cases of contractual ambiguity, the original intentions of both parties should guide interpretation. The courts are instructed to ensure that the bride had complete autonomy in expressing her consent before clarifying the terms of the contract. Importantly, the ruling prohibits the inclusion of clauses within the contract completed without meaningful consultation with the bride, safeguarding her rights and interests.

Furthermore, the court acknowledges prevailing societal norms where terms of marriage contracts are often determined by men. It asserts that ambiguity cannot be exploited against the bride until the principle of balancing opportunities is thoroughly examined.

The case prompting this ruling involved a dispute over the dissolution of a marriage, where the woman sought the return of dowry and belongings as stipulated in the contract. The Supreme Court upheld the decision to grant the woman the property mentioned in the contract, dismissing an appeal contesting this decision. This verdict not only ensures women’s rights within marriage but also promotes greater gender equality and empowerment within Pakistan’s legal framework.