Section 494 in the Indian Penal Code

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.

Essentials of Section 494 of IPC

The first marriage should be according to the law that is, it should be legal

Second marriage should have taken place.

The first marriage should be existing.

The spouse must be alive.

Both marriages should be valid.

Bigamist meaning

When a person is already married and the marriage is still valid, then contracts another marriage with another person is called bigamy and the person committing this is called bigamist.

Example: “A” was married to “B” who is his wife and due to some fights she left her in-laws place and went to her parental home. Then after some days, her husband married another woman. In this case, “A” is to be called as a bigamist.

Exception to Bigamy

This section does not extend to any person whose marriage with such husband or wife has been declared 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. However, this offense is attracted only when the second procedure was conducted legally so as to give it a legally accepted marriage status. If not, there is no second marriage to begin with and so no second wife and so, no bigamy.

Section 494 IPC shall NOT apply if:

• 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. Here the party marrying must inform the person with whom he or she marries of this fact.

What if the person hides the first marriage and contracts another one?

Complaint for cheating can be filed under section 415 of IPC

What is the Punishment under the Act?

Bigamy is a NON-cognizable offense. It is bailable and compoundable with the permission of court if the offense is committed under section 494 of the IPC.

Punishment is imprisonment, which may extend till 7 years or fine or both. In case the person charged of bigamy has performed the second marriage by hiding the fact of first marriage, then he shall be punished with imprisonment of up to 10 years or fine or both. Such offense under section 495 is not compoundable.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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