To ban or not to ban: lessons for India from America’s endeavor to proscribe polygamy

Dhawan, Sachin (2016) To ban or not to ban: lessons for India from America’s endeavor to proscribe polygamy. Jindal Global Law Review, 7 (1). pp. 31-47. ISSN 0975-2498

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Both the United States [U.S.] and India are home to communities that practice polygamy. Given this commonality and the fact that India has often been inspired by U.S. precedent on various matters of law, it is not surprising that flagship Indian cases on polygamy are influenced by U.S. polygamy law cases. However, it will be shown that this reliance on U.S. case law is confined to archaic 19th century cases. These cases, which strictly proscribe polygamy, don’t reflect the changes of the last 60 years in favor of non-enforcement of the polygamy ban by American law enforcement officials at the state and Federal level. They are also unreflective of a recent judicial trend in the U.S. that (a) indicates a shift away from imposition of majoritarian values upon the population and (b) firmly rejects the ‘public harm’ justification of polygamy proscription. Such a justification infused the writings of the 19th century U.S. Supreme Court decisions and subsequently found expression in Indian judicial pronouncements. The paper concludes by examining the relevance of the U.S. move away from its ban on polygamy to the ongoing discussion in India over whether to ban polygamy for Muslims.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Polygamy | Ban | Public harm
Subjects: Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Law and Legal Studies
JGU School/Centre: Jindal Global Law School
Depositing User: Mr. Syed Anas
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2022 04:30
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2023 11:22
Official URL:


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