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Kalyan Pavan   05 October 2021

Father's illegal second wife and his progeny

Apologies, it's a long story but I'll try to cut it to as short as possible. Please bear with me.

About 20 years back, when I was about 11 years old, my father has married another woman. He also has a son of 18 year with his second wife now. My mother is illiterate and was helpless at that time and couldn't stop him from getting married again. All she could do with the help of our elder relatives was to make my father write an agreement on bond paper, stating that all the property except one house where he lives with his second wife and kid, belongs to us (kids) and he wouldn't involve his second wife or progeny there of in the properties mentioned in agreement or in our lives. This agreement was made in year 2001. In return my father asked my mother to sign an agreement agreeing to his second marriage, but my mother didn't as everything happened against her will. We still lived together with our father and he maintained both the families, without causing any major disturbances to us because of his second family.

Fast forward to 2020, we moved to a newly constructed house about 300 meters from our old house. About an year back, our sister has sold her house that was gifted to her by my father. My father was against the sale of the house which resulted in a friction, so he left our new house and started living in our old house since a year. Recently we visited our old house to check few things and surprised to see our father has started a business there with this second wife's son actively involved in day to day business activities. We were irate that resulted in verbal abuses, my father argued that it's his wish and everything is his property and that we don't have any right to question him. We've lodged a police complaint in near by station for his second marriage and the agreement made to not involve his second wife or progeny. The Police weren't really interested, but finally filed FIR reluctantly and improperly after 4 days of begging around with them, under sections of 494 and 498(a), mentioning only my father as accused but not his second wife.

For our father and his son through second wife, it's business as usual despite all this. We really want to take some action on my father, his second wife and his son. Can we book my father and his second wife together under 420 (cheating my mother and getting married) and my father alone under 125 for my mother's maintenance? My only doubt is that 20 years past, can we book my father now. Because this was the same reason why Police were reluctant and very careless about our complaint.

Note: All our properties are Notary based, not registered.

 2 Replies

Rama chary Rachakonda (Secunderabad/Highcourt practice watsapp no.9989324294 )     05 October 2021

An adult could sue his or her parent for any tort, whether personal or related to property. ... For example, a child usually can sue a parent for negligence when the parent has failed to provide food or medical care, but not when the parent has merely exercised parental authority.

Anusha Singh   05 October 2021

As per your query it is understood that you need information regarding the second marriage of your father and your mother’s right in your father’s property.

A wife is entitled to inherit an equal share of her husband’s property. However, if the husband has excluded her from his property through a will, she does not have a right to her husband’s property. Moreover, a wife has a right to her husband’s ancestral property. She has a right to reside in her marital home and a right to be maintained by her husband.

If a man marries, without formally and legally divorcing his first wife, the second wife and her children's rights become limited. The law views the first wife as the legal wife till the time the court finalizes the divorce.

Polygamy or having more than one wife is prohibited under Hindu law. Hence, if the first wife is living and is not legally divorced, then the second marriage assumes no legal significance. This means that the second wife will have no claim over her husband’s property. However, her children would stand to inherit their genetic father’s property.

If the second marriage is legally valid and occurs after the first wife’s death or after the man is legally divorced from his first wife, then the second wife would get all the rights a wife would have over the husband’s property. These rights would be over the husband’s ancestral as well as self-acquired property.

Hence, the second wife's right over her husband’s property depends upon the legal status of the marriage. It is important to check if the man you are marrying already has a living spouse or not.

Thus, the property rights of a wife in India over her husband’s property depend on a variety of factors. It is important to know how a wife can lay claim over her husband’s property and what is her share in the same.

Also, regarding your question if you can file the case against your father for having a second wife when his first wife is alive and not divorced the answer is “Yes” you can file a case against them and challenge the validity of their marriage even after 20 years.

Hope it helps!



Anusha Singh

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