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Pratija Goyal (None)     07 November 2014

Marriage with 2 wives and bigamy

Hi All,


I have consulted 2 different lawyers and got 2 different opinions so i am here to find an exact answer to my query if possible.


If a person goes through a Hindu marriage ceremony before he is divorced from his first wife then as per the Indian law this is punishable under Bigamy IPC 494.


Lawyer1 said that this person can be punished any time as the crime is already committed and even if he divorce both the wives still he will be punished.


Lawyer2 said that if the Bigamy case is not filed till now and if he gets divorced from his first wife then his second marriage is void in any way and he has to remarry the second wife to make it valid.So as per him the Bigamy case should be filed when he is with 2 wives and filing a case later after he gets divorced from first or making second marriage legally void then IPC 494 is not valid anymore.


 21 Replies

Sanjeev Kuchhal (Publishers)     07 November 2014

I agree with the first advocate

Rocky Smith (Instructor @ Calcutta (     07 November 2014

I go with lawyer 2.


The Supreme Court in exercising the power under Art. 142 of the Constitution of India has held that where the marriage is dead and there is no chance of its being retrieved, it is better to bring it to an end. for following this test of dead marriage or irretrievable breakdown of marriage the Supreme Court has held in Romesh Chander v Savitri that the marriage in that case is dead both emotionally and practically. Continuance of marital alliance for name-sake is prolonging agony and affliction. Thus by exercising power under Art. 142 of the Constitution the Supreme Court directed that the said marriage between the parties stood dissolved.

In Sneh Prabha v Ravinder Kumar the Supreme Court has held that the marriage of the parties has irretrievably broken down and there were no chances of the husband and the wife living together and as such the decree of divorce was granted. The question remains in absence of legislative provision relating to the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage for divorce can a court exercise the inherent power under s. 151, CPC like the Supreme Court under Art. 142 of the Constitution which is exclusively meant for the Supreme Court.


But still I suggest that don't properly solemnized the marriage till the case is pending.

Make a good live-in relationship.


Good Luck!

Sudhir Kumar, Advocate (Advocate)     10 November 2014

please speak out facts of the case.

Shonee Kapoor (Legal Evangelist - TRIPAKSHA)     10 November 2014

Here the complainant should file the complaint whilst she still is married with the accused. The person who does not retain the status of the wife can not file a case. As the complainant can only be the wife and as per legal precendents; wife is current wife; whose marriage has not been dissolved.



Pratija Goyal (None)     10 November 2014

I am the complainant but as he married me before he divorced his first wife and as my marriage is void then how can i file a complaint when you say person who does not retain the status of the wife can not file a case.

Now he divorced his first wife but my marriage with him is void so how can i dissolve a void marriage and call myself current wife ?

Nitin (Law)     10 November 2014

Here both husband and second wife needs to be punished.


Husband because he cannot escape by saying that he was ignorant of the law.

Wife because Marriage register public document and she could have checked it before marriage and also before undergoing ceremonial marriage or marriage registration the couple has to sign and say they are single.

Sudhir Kumar, Advocate (Advocate)     11 November 2014

only first wife can be the complainant.  Who are you in this case.

Dr. MPS RAMANI Ph.D.[Tech.] (Scientist/Engineer)     11 November 2014

The reply of Mr. Rocky Smith is just display and so much of irrelevant legalese. The question asked here is neither the validity nor the need to continue of a marriage. The question is whether bigamy as a crime continues to be a crime after the first marriage is dissolved. Bigamy is a crime under IPC and will not cease to be a crime whatever may happen afterwards. There are many celebrities who marry a second time without ever dissolving the first marriage. Nothing happens to them. On the other hand they further go up and up in their celebrity status. There are two types of criminal offences. The offences of one type are cognizable offences and the other type are non-cognizable. A cognizable offence is one which is considered as an offence against the State. The State is the aggrieved party and the police and the prosecution are duty bound to pursue the case to its logical conclusion. Murder is perhaps is the most serious of cognisable offences. The relatives of the victim are not the aggrieved parties there. In some Islamic countries relatives are aggrieved parties and a murder case is often settled by payment of what they call blood money. Let us come back to bigamy. Is it a crime against the State or a crime against a private individual? If it is a cognisable offence it is a crime against the State. But if the police and the prosecution do not take up the case who is going to pressurise them? If bigamy is not a cognizable offence who is the private individual who is the aggrieved party? Naturally it will be the first wife. But if the first wife gets or given a divorce following due process of law she cannot any more claim herself to be the aggrieved party. The question of locus standee comes here to entitle her to pursue the case.
1 Like

Dr. MPS RAMANI Ph.D.[Tech.] (Scientist/Engineer)     11 November 2014

The second wife can be the aggrieved party not for the offence of bigamy but as victim of cheating and rape. If the husband had married her without disclosing his first marriage and the second wife had no way of knowing that he was already married she was cheated. If she had s*x with him believing that she was his legally wedded wife whereas their marriage was not valid it would amount to rape. She will be the aggrieved party even if she later comes to know of his first marriage and divorce, but refuses to accept him as her husband refusing to marrying him again.

Pratija Goyal (None)     11 November 2014

"Any offence punishable under section 494 or section 495 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) may be inquired into or tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction the offence was committed or the offender last
resided with his or her spouse by the first marriage or the wife by the first marriage has taken up permanent residence after the commission of the offence."


Now me being second wife then where is the jurisdiction.The place where my husband married his first wife or where he undergone a ceremonial marriage with me ?

Sudhir Kumar, Advocate (Advocate)     11 November 2014

So far you had been playing hide and seek and it is only now you informed that


"me being second wife"


question is :-


where the crime has committed by you a by husband?


  1. Place where you got married with a man having a wife.
  2. Place where you resided with the man as husband and wife

Pratija Goyal (None)     11 November 2014

Sudhir Sir i am not playing any hide and seek as i have mentioned in my second response which clearly states i am second wife.

"I am the complainant but as he married me before he divorced his first wife and as my marriage is void"

 My question is if i can file Bigamy case against him and if i get any Maintenance or Alimony? Or its only first wife who can file and has maintenance rights.Also now he divorced his first wife.

Sudhir Kumar, Advocate (Advocate)     11 November 2014

are you complainant of bigamy or for cheating.


Can you prove that you never knew about existing earlier marriage.  That being so please confirm so before further advise can be given.

Rocky Smith (Instructor @ Calcutta (     11 November 2014

If the marriage is void then how will you get maintenance?

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