POLYGAMY IN INDIA (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 - Indian Society)

News-CRUX-10     7th August 2023        

Context: An expert committee formed by the Assam government to examine the legislative competence of the state legislature to enact a law to end polygamy submitted its report to Chief Minister.

  • The committee was tasked to scrutinise the provisions of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Act, 1937 along with Article 25 of the Constitution in relation to the Directive Principles of State Policy for a Uniform Civil Code.

Polygamy in India

  • The National Family Health Survey-5 (2019-20) showed the prevalence of polygamy was 2.1% among Christians, 1.9% among Muslims, 1.3% among Hindus, and 1.6% among other religious groups.
  • The data showed that the highest prevalence of polygynous marriages was in the Northeastern states with tribal populations.
  • A list of 40 districts with the highest polygyny rates was dominated by those with high tribal populations.

Legal Provisions

  • Hindu Marriage Act 1955: It made Hindu polygamy would be abolished and criminalized.
  • Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936: It had outlawed bigamy.
  • Muslim Personal Law Application Act (Shariat) of 1937: Polygamy is not prohibited in Muslim legislation because it is recognised as a religious practice, hence they tend to preserve and practice it.