The Supreme Court Monday held that polygamy was not an integral part of any religion and that the State could regulate such practices in the interest of public order, health and morality.
“What was protected under Article 25 was the religious faith and not a practice which may run counter to public order, health or morality. Polygamy was not integral part of religion and monogamy was a reform within the power of the State under Article 25,” observed a bench of Justices T S Thakur and Adarsh Kumar Goel while referring to a judgment in 2003.
Expressing its concurrence with the previous judgments, the court said a practice did not acquire sanction of religion simply because it was permitted. Such a practice could be regulated by law without violating Article 25, which prescribes for freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion.
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The bench added that it was for the legislature to decide as to what constituted the social reform on subjects that may include marriage and if they come to a conclusion that monogamy tends to the welfare of the State, then it is not for the courts of law to sit in judgment upon such a decision. The court said this while upholding the validity of the UP government rules, mandating dismissal of an employee for bigamy.