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mukesh burnwal   20 September 2020

reagarding IPC 494/495

I need an expert advice. one of my friend is cheated by his wife. his wife was already married before their marriage and she did not took legal divorce. it is a clear case of bigamy. the query is, if he'll go with IPC 494 and 495 then whether it'll move as civil matter or criminal. as far as I know that in case of male/ husband it is treated as criminal act but is it so with wife also. is there any precedent in any case related to this case. thanks!


 9 Replies

Adv Vinay Mathur + 8447131770 (Advocate)     20 September 2020

Yes your friend can file complaint to police, her ex husband must alive before second Marriage, it's a criminal matter

SHIRISH PAWAR, 7738990900 (Advocate)     20 September 2020


Your friend can file complaint to local police station. He can also file divorce petition it is good ground for divorce. 

mukesh burnwal   21 September 2020

@Adv Vinay Mathur
He (friend) talked to his lawyer but he replied that criminal case can't be imposed against wife, it'll be treated only as civil matter also there is no any precedent to match that the wife got punished/ imprisonment for 494/495. have you any example sir?

Arpit Tumbaria (Advocate at Uttarakhand High Court.)     22 September 2020

No that's not true its a criminal case of bigamy under section 494 and 495 first u need to file an FIR with  all proofs of his wife's first marriage.If  police cannot file an FIR then u may proceed to session court and also file Divorce case at Family court.

P. Venu (Advocate)     27 September 2020

In mu understanding, it is the first husband who is the aggrieved person and he alone is the person can file a complaint. In fact, the second marriage is invalid and the second husband has no standing in the eyes of the law.

Raghav Arora   28 September 2020

It is a criminal case. It is clear cut bigamy. 

When wife cheats, it is bigamy. When husband cheats, it is rape also. 

It  is a criminal matter in both cases. If the parties are Hindu, the case is of criminal matter under section 17 of the Hindu Marriage Act as well. The punishment may extend to 7 or 10 years under the two acts. 

As it is a non-cognizable offence, you have to make a complaint in the court of magistrate. 


Now, these are the provisions why the lawyer is getting confused. 

1. In case the girl was minor when she married the adult boy, then she will not be punished.

2. Women are not put into civil imprisonment.


mukesh burnwal   28 September 2020

@Raghav Arora
@P. Venu
your (both) statement seems contradictory. if P. Venu sir says that only aggrieved person can file complaint then how it is bigamy or say cheating to 2nd husband. it is true that under HMA section 17 person may be punished extend to 7/10 years but bigamy to whom either with 1st or 2nd husband. in my case, friend is the 2nd husband

P. Venu (Advocate)     28 September 2020

I am sorry that in my earlier reply, I had overlooked the provisions of Section 495 IPC. This section punishes a person who commits bigamy by concealing the former marriage from the person with whom he contracts the subsequent marriage. The section states that whoever commits the offence of marrying again during the lifetime of the husband or wife, as the case may be, as defined in section 494, having concealed the fact of the former marriage from the person with whom the subsequent marriage is contracted, shall be punished with simple or rigorous imprisonment extending up to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

As such, your friend can initiate a criminal action. The offence is cognizable a bailable except in the State of Andhra Pradesh (may be, Telengana too) where it is non-cognizable and non-bailable. 

In terms of Section 198 CrPC, it is the aggrieved person alone who can make the complaint.

mukesh burnwal   30 September 2020

@P. Venu thank you sir for your rectification!

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