Polygamy in India: what the data show

Syllabus: GS-I

Subject: Society and Social Justice.  

Topic: Salient features of Indian Society

Issue: Polygamy in India.

Context: The Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly passed the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) Bill, 2024 aimed to bring uniformity in personal laws governing marriage, divorce, and inheritance across communities in the state (excluding few communities).

Synopsis :

  • Government data on polygamy is sourced from the census and the National Family Health Survey (NFHS).
  • Both sources have limitations, with the census relying on indirect inference and the NFHS having a smaller sample size.
Polygamy in India:

It refers to marriage between one person and two or more spouses simultaneously and includes types such as polygyny, polyandry, and bigamy.

Legal Provisions:

  • The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 abolished Hindu polygamy and criminalized it.
  • The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act of 1936 outlawed bigamy.
  • Under the Muslim Personal Law Application Act (Shariat) of 1937, polygamy is not prohibited and is recognized as a religious practice.
  • The Indian Penal Code (IPC) penalizes bigamy or polygamy with imprisonment for up to seven years and a fine.
  • Article 44 of the Indian Constitution strives for a Uniform Civil Code for all citizens.Top of FormTop of Form















Scroll to Top