Is Polygamy legal in India? Polygamy is illegal in India. Indian law recognizes only monogamous marriages, where a person can be legally married to only one spouse at a time. Polygamy is considered a criminal offense under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code, and a person who commits polygamy can be punished with imprisonment for up to 7 years, along with a fine.
However, there are certain religious communities in India that allow polygamous marriages under their personal laws. Muslim men, for example, can have up to four wives under Muslim Personal Law. Similarly, men from other communities like the Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists can also have more than one wife under their personal laws.
It is important to note that even though some religious communities allow polygamy, it is still illegal under Indian law, and a person can be punished for committing the offense. Additionally, the right to practice religion and religious freedom is guaranteed by the Indian Constitution, but it is subject to certain reasonable restrictions, such as public order, morality, and health.
In recent years, there have been calls to ban polygamy altogether, and some activists have pointed out that it is a form of gender-based violence that exploits women and puts them at a disadvantage. There have also been cases where women have been abandoned by their polygamous husbands, leaving them without financial support or legal recourse.
Overall, polygamy is not legal in India, and even though some religious communities allow it under their personal laws, it is still considered a criminal offense under Indian law. It is important to understand the legal implications of polygamy and to ensure that any marriage is conducted in accordance with Indian law.
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