HC refuses to entertain appeal against woman’s acquittal from bigamy case

HC refuses to entertain appeal against woman’s acquittal from bigamy case

Legal Correspondent
UPDATED: 23 OCTOBER 2020 02:00 IST
Judge upholds trial court’s judgment
The Madras High Court refused to entertain an appeal against the acquittal of a woman from the charge of bigamy. She had been accused of marrying for the second time a month after obtaining an ex-parte divorce decree, which got set aside four months thereafter.

Though her first husband had accused the woman of having chosen to go for a second marriage after a sub court had ordered notice to her on his plea to set aside the ex-parte divorce decree, Justice P.N. Prakash refused to grant leave to file an appeal against the acquittal.

The judge pointed out that even according to the appellant (the first husband who had lodged the complaint of bigamy), his wife had filed a divorce petition in 2011, obtained an ex-parte decree on February 19, 2015 and got married to another person on March 22, 2015.


Pointing out that the second marriage had reportedly taken place only after the dissolution of the first marriage, the judge said the contention that the ex-parte divorce decree was set aside by the same sub court in Arani on July 10, 2015, was “a different matter”.

He also went on to state that for the offence of bigamy, it was essential for the complainant to prove that the accused underwent religious matrimonial ceremonies required to complete the marriage. Such proof was miserably absent in the present case, he added.

The judge held that a judicial magistrate in Ranipet had rightly acquitted the woman, her second husband and parents from Sections 494 (marrying during lifetime of husband or wife) read with Section 109 (abetment) of the Indian Penal Code on July 17. “This court does not find any perversity or illegality in the order passed by the trial court warranting interference,” Justice Prakash observed.

In his verdict, judicial magistrate E. Deiveegan had refused to punish the accused solely on the basis of a marriage registration certificate produced by the complainant to claim that his wife had got married to another person. He had insisted upon corroborative evidence.

The magistrate said even an admission by the accused that she married another person during the lifetime of her first husband could not be valid evidence to prove such a marriage. The onus was only upon the complainant to prove the fact through sufficient evidence.

It was essential to prove through credible eye-witnesses or documentary evidence that the accused, professing Hinduism, had got married by performing rituals such as ‘Saptapadi’ and ‘Homam’ or through ‘Suyamariyadhai’ (self-respect) or ‘Sirthirutha’ (reformist) mode, he had said.

In the present case, “the prosecution had neither established that the essential ceremonies had been performed nor that the performance of essential ceremonies had been abrogated by the custom governing the communities to which the parties belonged.

“Hence, this court finds that the prosecution has failed to prove the case of the marriage between A1 and A4 beyond reasonable doubts,” the Magistrate had held.

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