Sharing its concern with a woman who was lured to marriage by a man who had concealed his subsisting marriage, the Supreme Court has ruled that he is liable to face the criminal prosecution for committing bigamy, cheating and cruelty.
Moreover, it’s not the second woman alone who can file this complaint but the first “legally married” woman too is entitled to bring the legal machinery in action.
The court has also held that that the charge of cruelty can also be leveled by both the women against the same spouse. The court scrapped a judgment passed by the Andhra Pradesh High Court two years ago that allowed an accused police official’s law suit that his second wife could not complain of cruelty against him for she is not legally married and that the marriage could be nullified.
A. Subash Babu, who was married to Sharda and had two children from her, “concealed” this fact and married another woman. When she learnt about his first marriage, she filed a criminal complaint against him, accusing him of cheating, bigamy, fraud and cruelty.
A bench of Justice JM Panchal and Justice HL Gokhale held that a married man who by “passing himself off as unmarried” induces an innocent woman to become,as she thinks his wife,but in reality his mistress, “commits one of the grossest forms of frauds known to law”.There, he must be awarded severe punishment under section 495 which begins with the words “whoever commits the offence” of bigamy.