Joined: 04 December 2008
Bigamy i.e. second marriage during the lifetime of a first spouse is illegal in India. Second marriage and the relationship arising out of it do not have any validity. Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, clearly states that a marriage could be valid only if neither of the party has a living spouse at the time of marriage. Section 11 of the Act declares second marriage to be null and void and she is not addressed as the man's wife ,but the second woman.
A person commits bigamy when he/she:
Thus, bigamy is an offence only if the first husband or wife is alive. Even if second marriage is performed with the consent of first spouse, it is an offence. In case of a divorce dissolving a valid marriage, the parties obtaining such dissolution can remarry.
The law is very clear on second marriage. Given the case, the laws are very dicey for the second women and she is not protected by law. The second woman is not entitled to any share in husband's property. The children of the second woman, however, are entitled to get a share in their father's self-acquired property.
The children from the second wife are entitled to share in their father's self 'acquired property not any family property.
Complaint under the Act
Anyone who has witnessed the illegal act can file a case of bigamy either in court or at the police station under section 494/495 of the Indian Penal Code.
A petition for declaring the second marriage as void can be filed if the marraige is consumated by the parties of second woman
Complaint for cheating can be filed under section 415 of IPC in case the person hides the fact of first marriage.
Punishment under the Act
Bigamy is a non-cognizable offence. It is bail able and compoundable with the permission of court if the offence is committed under section 494 of the IPC. The punishment for bigamy is imprisonment, which may extend till 7 years or fine or both. In case the person charged of bigamy has performed the second marriage by hiding the fact of first marriage, then he shall be punished with imprisonment of up to 10 years or fine or both. Such offence under section 495 is not compoundable.
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