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In Re: P. Kondiah and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily;Criminal
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Revn. Case No. 907 of 1953 and Criminal Revn. Petn. No. 852 of 1953
Judge
Reported inAIR1954Mad947
ActsMadras Hindu (Bigamy Prevention and Divorce) Act, 1949 - Sections 4(1) and 4(3); Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1898 - Sections 198; Indian Penal Code (IPC) - Sections 494
AppellantIn Re: P. Kondiah and anr.
Appellant AdvocateK. Savala, ;K. Mangala and ;P. Komala, Advs.
Respondent AdvocatePublic Prosecutor (Andhra)
DispositionPetition allowed
Excerpt:
- .....marriage between the first accused and his first wife. once it is proved that there was a valid marriage, it is for the party concerned to show that that marriage has been dissolved and there is no subsisting marriage and it is not for the other side to show that that marriage still subsists. the only evidence let in is that there is a custom or practice of divorce in the community to which the parties belong. that would not be sufficient to establish the actual divorce effected between the first accused and his first wife. merely because there is a custom amongst the members of the community, it does not necessarily follow that there has been a divorce of the first wife. if that is so, the marriage of p. w. 1 herself with the first accused is null and void. if her marriage is.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Chandra Reddy, J.

1. This revision petition is against the judgment of the Sessions Judge of Masulipatara confirming the conviction of the first accused under Section 494, I. P. C. and the sentence of four months' rigorous imprisonment and the conviction of the 2nd accused under Section 4 (3) of the Madras Hindu (Bigamy Prevention and Divorce) Act and the sentence of Rs. 60 in default, imprisonment.

2. The case against the first petitioner is that he took a third wife while his marriage with the second wife subsisted. Several pleas were taken by the accused, but all of them were rejected and the petitioners were found guilty by the Additional First Class Magistrate, Bandar, which was confirmed by the Sessions Judge of Masulipatam.

3. In revision, the propriety of the convictions is questioned by Miss Sarala on the ground that the complaint is filed by one who is not a person aggrieved within the meaning of Section 198, Criminal P. C. Prom the provisions of Section 198, it is clear that only a complaint filed by a person aggrieved by an offence under Section 494 I. P. C. could foe taken cognizance of by a court. So, unless p. W. 1 is a person within the purview of Section 198, Criminal P. C., the Magistrate would not be competent to entertain the complaint.

4. The question for consideration is whether P. W. 1 is a person aggrieved by the third marriage of the first accused. Admittedly, P. W. 1 is only the second wife of the first accused. It is also in evidence and it is not disputed before me that the first accused's first wife is alive even today. The next point is whether the marriage with that wife was in force on the date of the second marriage. There is no evidence that on the date P. W. l was married to the first accused or even subsequently the first accused obtained a divorce of his first wife. It is curious that the learned Sessions Judge should have observed that there is no evidence that there is a subsisting marriage between the first accused and his first wife. Once it is proved that there was a valid marriage, it is for the party concerned to show that that marriage has been dissolved and there is no subsisting marriage and it is not for the other side to show that that marriage still subsists.

The only evidence let in is that there is a custom or practice of divorce in the community to which the parties belong. That would not be sufficient to establish the actual divorce effected between the first accused and his first wife. Merely because there is a custom amongst the members of the community, it does not necessarily follow that there has been a divorce of the first wife. If that is so, the marriage of P. W. 1 herself with the first accused is null and void. If her marriage is 'ab initio' void and if there is no legal and valid marriage, she cannot be said to be the wife of the first accused. Hence she cannot have any grievance and she cannot be a person within the scope of Section 198, Criminal P. C. Consequently, there has been no valid prosecution against the first and second accused.

5. It follows that the convictions and sentences must be set aside and the petition allowed.


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