Bigamy is an ongoing offence or may the proceedings for an infraction punishable by bigamy under Section 494 CrPC be extinguished on the ground of delay.

The decision is bigamy is still an offence and proceedings for an infraction punishable by bigamy under Section 494 CrPC be extinguished on the ground of delay, upheld by the High Court of Karnataka through the learned bench led by HONOURABLE JUSTICE M. NAGAPRASANNA in the case of Anand v. Chandramma (Criminal Petition 9849 of 2021)


 Facts of the case: Petitioner 1, who’s really 76 years old, is married to the complainant, whose age is 69. They got married in 1968. Eventually in 1972 or 1973, the first petitioner married her sister Savitramma with the approval of the second petitioner. In 1993, the first petitioner married the second petitioner, Varalakshmi, with the permission and agreement of the first and second wives. It also says that all of the petitioners got an equal share of the first petitioner’s property. So, the claim is that the first wife Chandramma (respondent) knew about the first petitioner’s 2nd wedding to Savitramma and the first petitioner’s 3rd marriage to the second petitioner/respondent. Savitramma and the respondent also knew about the 3rd marriage. As well, it says that they all lived together in peace.

It was because of some disagreements that the respondent submitted a private complaint against the petitioners herein citing charges punishable under Section 494 of the Penal Code, 1860 IPC for bigamy and abatement, Section 109 of the IPC, and Section 34 of the IPC. Section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act, 2015, was also submitted by the respondent. Lawyer Ravindranath K argued that the claim of polygamy against the first petitioner is false since she was aware of the relationship between the first petitioner and the complainant’s sister, Smt. Savitramma, who married the first petitioner and then married the second petitioner. Counsel for the respondent, SG Rajendra Reddy, said that the complainant didn’t even know that the first petitioner had gotten married to the second petitioner. He married the second petitioner without telling her that the first petitioner was already married. This is definitely bigamy, and he says there can be no delay in cases of bigamy.

JUDGEMENT- The Court said that the charges against the 1st and 2nd petitioners can’t be dropped because the 1st petitioner admits to the crime in the petition. For the third time, it wouldn’t matter if the first wife agreed or if the first and second wives agreed. This is because bigamy is still an offence. Even though it’s a known fact that the petitioner has been married three times and that it’s still going on, the fact that the crime wasn’t reported right away wouldn’t matter because bigamy is a continuing crime. The first petitioner, the second petitioner, and the first petitioner’s other two wives all married him while he was still married to one of them. They all knew about the first marriage. Because of this, the case against them will have to go on.

Judgement reviewed by – Harilakshmi

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