There is a great deal of controversy over the question of group marriage quite a few, sociologist agree that there was such an institution as group marriage. All the evidence we have tended to joint out in the direction of some kind of looseness. And temporary looseness, no matter on what scale, should not be confused with group marriage. There is no such thing as a group marriage.
Hobhouse writes, “Indeed, it cannot be regarded as certain that any such institution as the actual marriage of two groups as distinct from the combination of polygamy and polyandry with certain marriage taboos, has ever existed.” On a controversial topic like group marriage it is better to marshal evidence which was found amongst some Central Australian tribes. The tribe called Urabunna has a peculiar custom.
The tribe is divided into two classes which are exogamous-that is man must not marry out his class. Secondly there are distinct totems within the tribe and these are similarly exogamous. Thirdly, each of the two classes in further divided into four groups and in choosing a wife a man restricted to one of these groups. Thus there existed a group of men and definite group of women with whom they can marry and who are called their Nupas. Thus in the tribe there are many and women who are nupas to each other- that is potential husbands and wives.
A man will have one or more Nupas assigned to him as his wives. He will also have others to whom he is Piriaungaru-that is he has access to them under certain conditions. Similarly a man may lend his wife to any of his Nupas. Thus the husband has a preferential right in his wife and the wife
It is here that we may find the relies of group marriage. It is here that we find polyandry too. But as marriage hardened into an institution it had no place for any group marriage or any promiscuity. The existence of group marriage, therefore, remains a hypothetical proposition. There seems to be no conclusive evidence to prove the actual establishments of the institution of group marriage as such.