New Delhi: Close relatives of a person
actively participating in key ceremonies of one`s marriage for
a second time during existence of the first marriage are
guilty of abetting bigamy, a Delhi court has ruled.
Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau has held this
while summoning the close family members of a man and his
second wife to face trial for abetting bigamy for actively
participating in key rituals of the man`s second marriage.
"In a case where the close relatives of the husband
and the alleged second wife, despite having knowledge,
participated in the actual essential ceremonies, then they are
certainly guilty of abetment of the offence of bigamy," said
"It is a settled law that mere participation in the
second marriage would not ipso-facto make the relatives or the
participants liable for abetment to bigamy since abetment
connotes an active suggestion or support to the commission of
"However, at the same time, those closely associated
with the conduct of essential ceremonies of marriage and
having actively supported the conduct of the second marriage
cannot be let off since that would defeat the very purpose of
the provision," ASJ Lau said.
"Bigamy is out-lawed in India except among Muslims and
is an offence punishable under the law. Courts in India look
down upon bigamy which is more rampant among men. Multiple
marriages socially and legally punish women more than men and
it is the aggrieved first wife who silently suffers the
miseries caused by such a second marriage of the husband,"
the court said.