Is Muslim polygamy legal in India

Polygamy in India - Polygamy in India

Polygamy in India is prohibited. While polygamy was not forbidden in ancient India and was common among aristocrats and emperors, it is believed that it was not a significant cultural practice. The lack of a ban was partly due to the separation between land laws and religion (independence of the judiciary), and partly due to the fact that all of India's major religions presented polygamy in a neutral light.

In contrast to Europe, polygamy for rulers and kings prevailed in ancient India. It was common for rulers (for example, Bhupinder Singh of Patiala and Fateh Singh of Udaipur and Mewar). Some wealthy individuals (for example, Ramkrishna Dalmia, Gajanan Birla, and P. Rajagopal) had several wives.

The British colonial empire of India allowed the Islamic provinces to give husbands the opportunity to have multiple wives. When Maharaja Ranjit Singh was cremated in Lahore, four of his wives and seven concubines brought them to Sati, and their urn-like monuments exist in his samadhi.

Legal developments

Sections 494 and 495 of the Indian Penal Code of 1860 prohibited polygamy for Christians. In 1955, the Hindu Marriage Act was drafted, which prohibited the marriage of a Hindu whose spouse was still alive. Polygamy became illegal in India in 1956, uniform for all citizens except Muslims, who are allowed to have four wives, and for Hindus in Goa and along the west coast, where bigamy is legal.

A polygamous Hindu marriage is null and void. While the penalty set out in Sections 494 and 495 applies, it is rare if the first spouse does not object.

Muslim polygamy

Muslims in the rest of the country are subject to the provisions of the Shariat of 1937, interpreted by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board.

However, in a February 2015 ruling, the Indian Supreme Court found that "polygamy is not an integral or fundamental part of the Muslim religion and monogamy is a reform within the power of the state under Article 25".

Hindu polygamy in modern India

Bollywood star and Lok Sabha member Dharmendra was married to Prakash Kaur back in 1980 when he married actress Hema Malini. Although it was reported that he converted to Islam because of marriage, he denied being converted.

Legally speaking, a Hindu's second wife would be a mistress, although religiously and socially she can be considered a wife.

Polygamy among Hindus is sometimes accepted in some rural areas, often with the consent of former women. The 2005-06 National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) found that 2 percent of women said their husband had other wives besides himself. Husbands of women without children are more likely to have several wives.

In popular culture

Chand is a social drama film about the story of a childless couple starring Balraj Sahni and Meena Kumari. Mr Kapoor (Balraj Sahni), who is married to Kamla (Pandari Bai), cannot have a child of his own. Kamla wants a child, but forcibly agrees that Mr. Kapoor take a second wife and have a child. Sahni marries Vimla (Meena Kumari) with a large advance payment to her father. The marriage collapses shortly afterwards when Meena Kumari is with another woman who is competing for the same husband. She gives birth to a child but leaves her husband's home to live with her father as it was evident that she lost her senses in the situation she was thrown into. When she regains her senses with her father, she wants her child back, but both Kamla and Mr. Kapoor refuse to give the child back. The matter goes to court but the court rules Vimla and she goes insane. Check out the rest to see how things end happily and both Vimla and Kamla decide to live peacefully with the same husband. Although the film was released in 1959, the film was based in 1955 before polygamy was abolished.

Christian polygamy

In the state of Mizoram, a Christian religious sect known as "Pu Chana Páwl" or simply "Chana", founded in June 1942, allows polygamy. As of 2011, its leader Ziona (born 1945) had 39 wives, 94 children and 33 grandchildren, all of whom lived under one roof.

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