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Bombay HC says second marriage during subsistence of first marriage isn’t just bigamy but also rape

– Our Correspondent

The Bombay High Court rejected the plea to annul an FIR lodged against a man accused of entering into a subsequent marriage while his initial marriage was still legally binding.

On August 24, a two-judge panel of the Bombay High Court, comprising Justices Nitin Sambre and Rajesh Patil, dismissed the accused’s request to quash the FIR. They observed that engaging in a remarriage when the earlier marriage is still valid constitutes both bigamy and rape. The accused faces charges of rape and bigamy under Sections 376 and 494 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) based on an FIR filed against him.

According to the second wife’s complaint, the man married her in June 2014 following her spouse’s demise in February 2006. The complainant alleged that the man deceived her with false promises, falsely claiming to have divorced his previous wife, and engaged in a sexual relationship with her.

In the court’s view, the man was accused of contracting a second marriage despite knowing that his first marriage remained valid and of making deceptive promises while attempting to assert that the relationship was consensual.

The judges concluded that engaging in a physical relationship with the complainant while the first marriage was still legally intact constituted rape under Section 376 of the Penal Code. Conversely, the accused’s defence attorney contended that the woman was aware of the ongoing divorce proceedings involving the man’s first wife. The defence maintained that since the man did not deny his second marriage, there was no violation of Section 376, and the relationship was consensual.

The Court held that Hindu Law prohibited establishing a physical relationship through a second marriage while the first marriage was still legally binding.

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