Article written by Advocate Alpa Jogi on Marrying Again During lifetime of Husband or Wife IPC 494
The Indian Penal Code, 1860 explains bigamy under Section 494. The said provision states that any person who already has a wife or husband living, further proceeds to marry another person while being lawfully wedded to such wife or husband shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine. Moreover, such marriage shall be considered void in whatsoever case.
There are certain exceptions to the aforementioned provision wherein the person who marries another individual shall not be liable for bigamy. The exceptions are as follows:
(1) The said provision does not extend to any individual whose marriage with their partner from the prior marriage has been declared void by a court of competent jurisdiction.
(2) The said provision does not extend to any individual who contracts a marriage during the lifetime of their former partner wherein such partner at the time of such individual’s second marriage was not heard of for a period of seven years or wherein there is no information of them being alive. By virtue of presumption provided under Section 108 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, it may be concluded that a person who has been missing for more than seven years is presumed to be dead and that when the individual contracts a second marriage, it shall be understood that no husband or wife is living at the time of the second marriage and thus, the offence of bigamy is not constituted. The condition that is inclusive of this exception is that the individual contracting the second marriage must, before the second marriage takes place, inform the person they are about to marry about the facts to the best of their knowledge regarding their previous partner.
Note : Above information is in general form, issued with a motive to help. Author disowns any kind of liability.
You can contact Advocate Alpa Jogi for assistance on any kind of legal matters