Can I marry again without Divorce?

Can I marry again without Divorce?

04-Jul-2021 | Article by Legal White Official

A simple and one-word answer to this question is “No”. The Indian Divorce act 1869 along with the Hindu Marriage Act 1955 forbids a person who is already married to have another wife or a husband. According to the law is absolutely illegal to perform a second marriage until the first marriage is valid. It must to be noted that, while being married a person is also not allowed to be in a live – in relationship with another person as the live – in relationship is considered as an act of adultery and it is a punishable act. As per the law, if someone wants to remarry, he or she must ensure that the previous marriage has been invalidated by the act of court or any other relevant institution.

Historically, polygamy is something which was very much of the Indian society; however it was still not very prevalent. In the earlier times, the first wife was considered the actual wife and was given full respect and honor; however the other wives were not treated in the same manner.

The first wife always had the upper hand in terms of decision making and the children she bore were also given preference over children from second wife. It was also widely practiced in case the wife has become infertile or has been marred with incurable disease.

As we have already discussed, that one cannot marry with a valid divorce, however as per the law, if a person has already filed a petition for divorce and has already been living separated from his or her partner, he can marry, or the second marriage will remain valid. In other words, the second marriage will remain valid even if the petition is waiting for hearing.

India is a country with diverse people and culture. There are people with different faiths and beliefs. Keeping this in mind, the Divorce and Marriage laws in India have been adjusted as per the faith of the person, e.g. polygamy is illegal and unlawful in India for all its citizens excepts Muslims (they are permitted to have up to four wives at a time) and Hindus living towards the western coast in the state of Goa as bigamy is legal there.

Consequences for bigamy in India:

  • Bigamy is a criminal offence under IPC.
  • Bigamy is one of the valid and one of the most common reasons for divorce.
  • In case a person marries while being already married, the second marriage is considered void and is considered as adultery which is again a punishable act.
  • Bigamy when proven can leave a person incarcerated for up to 7 years or fine or both as the court may deem fit.
  • If a person hides about his first marriage can marries again, the punishment is imprisonment for up to 10 years.
  • The children born out of wed-lock have the right on their father’s property

Historically, polygamy or bigamy might have been part of the Indian society however this has not been the case now. According to the law as well as the observations of the Supreme court of India, these laws have been made to safeguard the rights of the citizens especially women and there should be more and more changes to it so that, the law can have more teeth to punish the offender in these types of cases.

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