Telangana HC | In what conditions a complaint of bigamy filed by wife is maintainable when another complaint under S. 498-A IPC is already pending? Court discusses

Telangana High Court

Telangana High Court: K. Lakshman, J., refused to quash a subsequent complaint filed by the wife against her husband (and others), where a prior complaint alleging offence under Section 498-A Penal Code, 1860 was already pending.

Instant criminal petition was filed under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Petitioners were accused of offences under Sections 498-A, 494 and 506 of Penal Code, 1860 and Section 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.

Respondent 2 had registered a crime against petitioner 1/husband of respondent 2 for the offence under Section 498-A IPC.

Allegations against the petitioners were that during the subsistence of the marriage with petitioner 1 and respondent 2, petitioner 1 married petitioner 6 with the help of petitioner 2 to 5 and therefore, they committed the offence punishable under Section 494 IPC.

Petitioner submitted that during the pendency of the first complaint, registration of the second complaint with regard to the very same allegations between the very same parties is not maintainable. He has also placed reliance on the principle laid down by the Supreme Court in Arnab Ranjan Goswami v. Union of India, (2020) 14 SCC 12

Analysis, Law and Decision

Bench noted that in the first complaint, the allegation of respondent 2 was with regard to the harassment by petitioner 1 demanding additional dowry.

Whereas in the second complaint, allegation against the petitioners was that during the subsistence of marriage, petitioner 1 married petitioner 6 and petitioners 2 to 5 assisted them in getting the said marriage. Hence, they committed “bigamy” punishable under Section 494 IPC.

Considering the fact that there are matrimonial disputes pending between petitioner 1 and respondent 2, and also considering the punishment prescribed for the offences alleged against the petitioners, the criminal petition was disposed of directing the Investigating Officer to follow the procedure contemplated under Section 41-A CrPC and also the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar, (2014) 8 SCC 273.

[B. Vikram Singh v. State of Telangana, Criminal Petition No. 4130 of 2021, decided on 3-06-2021]

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