In India, There was no bar in customary Hindu Law to a man entering second marriage. However, the customary law was codified by the enactment of the Hindu Marriage Act in 1956, which declared a second marriage ‘void ‘during the subsistence of the first one.
In India, bigamy is an offence against marriage and it is also criminal offence under Indian Penal laws. The bigamy law applicable to Hindus, Jains, Buddhists ,Sikhs,Parsis,Christians [except Muslims]. Bigamy is one of the ground to seek divorce under Hindu Marriage Act 1955.The second wife is entitlement for maintenance ,she is not entitle for property rights. In August 2009, the Law Commission of India recommended that bigamy should be made a cognizable offence.
The Law Commission of India said in its 227th report to the government “Muslim law on bigamy is gravely faulty and conflicts with true Islamic law in letter and spirit,'', the unanimous view of chairman Justice A R Lakshmanan and members Tahir Mahmood and B A Agrawal. “Bigamy is not very common among Muslims and cases of men having more than one wife at a time are few and far between” said commission.
Marrying again during lifetime of husband or wife: Whoever, having a husband or wife living, marries in any case in which such marriage is void by reason of its taking place during the life of such husband or wife, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine. Exception-This section does not extend to any person whose marriage with such husband or wife has been declare void by a Court of competent jurisdiction ,nor to any person who contracts a marriage during the life of a former husband or wife, if such husband or wife, at the time of the subsequent marriage, shall have been continually absent from such person for the space of seven years, and shall not have been heard of by such person as being alive within that time provided the person contracting such subsequent marriage shall, before such marriage takes place, inform the person with whom such marriage is contracted of the real state of facts so far as the same are within his or her knowledge.
- When husband or wife living,
- marries ,but such marriage is void,
- by reason of its taking place during the life of husband or wife.
- the first husband or wife is dead, or
- the first marriage has been declared void by the Court of competent jurisdiction, or
- the first marriage has been dissolved by divorce, or
- the first spouse has been absent or not heard of continually for a space of seven years. The party marrying must inform the person with whom he or she marries of this fact.
In India ,Catholics could face bigamy charges after annulment, remarriage?
offence of bigamy ,there should ample evidence to prove they have contacted second marriage without nullifying the first marriage.
Hence ,these some of frequently asked questions about law governing the offence of "Bigamy".