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Author Topic: B. Chandra Manikyamma VS B. Sudarsana Rao - Nullity of Marriage  (Read 3011 times)

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Equivalent citations: 1988 CriLJ 1849
B. Chandra Manikyamma, vs B. Sudarsana Rao Alias Saleem Mohammed And Ors. on 9/9/1988

JUDGMENT
G. Radhakrishna Rao, J.

1. A-1 is the husband and P.W. 1 is the wife. They belong to Kamma community. P.W. 1 filed a complaint
against A-1 to A-8 for offences under Section 494 and 494 read with Section 109 of the Indian Penal Code.

2. A-3 and A-4 are the parents and A-5 is the brother of A-1. A-6 is the brother-in-law of A-7. A-7 and A-8
are the parents of A-2.

3. The Judicial I Class Magistrate, Avanigadda, framed a charge against A-1 and A-2 for the offence under
Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code and against A-3 to A-8 for the offence under Section 494 read with
Section 109 of the Indian Penal Code.
4. On behalf of the complainant (PW 1) seven witnesses were examined and Exs. P-1 and P-2 were marked.
On behalf of the accused, DWs. 1 and 2 were examined. The accused denied the allegations made against
them.

5. The learned Magistrate, on appreciation of the evidence, found the accused guilty and convicted A-1 and
A-2 for the offence under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced them each to undergo R.I. for
one year and also to pay a fine of Rs. 1,000/- in default to undergo S.I. for one year. A-3 to A-8 were
convicted for the offence under Section 494 read with Section 109, IPC and sentenced to pay a fine of Rs.
500/- each in default to undergo S.I. for six months.

6. Against the convictions and the sentences passed by the Magistrate, the accused preferred Crl. Appeal No.
74/86. The Addl. Sessions Judge, Krishna at Machilipatnam, set aside the convictions and the sentences
awarded by the Magistrate. The complainant now filed the present appeal.

7. The case of the complainant is as follows:
A-1 married PW 1 on 21-4-1977 according to Hindu rites at Tirupathi. The marriage was consummated. P.W.
1 gave birth to a male child two years after the marriage and the child died after three months. Two years
thereafter during the wedlock wilh A-1, P.W. 1 gave birth to a female child by name Siva Ravali.
8. P.W. I's lather died during her childhood. On 21 4-1983, A-1 and A-3 beat P.W. 1 and drove her away from
the house. After she was driven away from the house, she went to her mother's house. A 1 did not take her
back.
9. At the time of marriage, two acres of wet land, forty sovereigns of gold and furniture and cooking vessels
were presented to P.W. 1. The income from the landed property was enjoyed by her husband A-1 and her
father-in-law A-3. Her husband and the father-in-law used to pledge the gold to get loans whenever money
was required for agricultural purposes and they did not render accounts of income on her property.
10. On 4-7-1983, A-1 married A-2 by name Attaluri Lakshmi, daughter of A-7 and A-8 at Teluguraopalem,
Krishna District, at about 7.30 a.m. in the house of A-7 according to Hindu rites. P.Ws. 2 to 4, 6 and some
others witnessed the second marriage.

B. Chandra Manikyamma, vs B. Sudarsana Rao Alias Saleem ... on 9 September, 1988
111. P.W. 1 came to know about the second marriage through PW 2 on 4-9-1983. On coming to know that

P.W. 1 may take any action, A-1 and A-2 converted into Islam and again they married in the house of Mirja
Mohishin Ali, Moulvi of Alinekkipalem, hamlet of Shoragundi, according to Muslim rites on 21-2-1984 in the
presence of P.Ws. 5 and 7. A-3 to A-8 abetted and arranged the marriage between A-1 and A-2, knowing fully
well about the subsistence of the first marriage of A-1 with P.W. 1.
12. A-1 and A-2 are residing with the parents of A-1 and they are observing Hindu formalities and they are
not observing Muslim faith. A-1 is not attending the Masjid for Namaj, particularly on Fridays and they are
called by their Hindu names in the village. A-1 and A-2 are worshipping Hindu deities and performing Hindu
festivals. A-2 is wearing a Mangalasuthram, Metlu and Tilakam.

13. P.W. 1 issued a registered notice through her lawyer. A-1 and A-2 styling themselves as Saleem
Mohammed and Laila Banu, sent a reply notice Ex. P-2. In Ex.P-2, the factum of conversion of A-1 and A-2
into Islam and the second marriage under the Muslim rites has been admitted. A-1 admitted in Ex. P-2 that
P.W. 1 is his wife and the marriage took place not on 21-4-1976, but on 21-4-l977 at Tirupathi.

14. The Magistrate found that the marriage between A-1 and A-2 was performed on 4-7-1983 at
Teluguraopalem in the house of A-7 and A-8. The marriage between A-1 and A-2 in the house of P.W. 7
under Muslim rites on 21-2-1984 also has been proved. The marriage between A-1 and P.W. 1 was subsisting
as on the dale of the second marriage either under the Hindu or under the Muslim Law. A-3 to A-8 abetted
and facilitated the second marriage between A-1 and A-2 and the Magistrate has accordingly convicted and
sentenced the accused as stated above.
15. On appeal, the learned Addl. Sessions Judge found that there is no evidence to show that there is a legal
marriage between P.W. 1 and A-l. A-1 has converted himself as a Mohammedan and he can have four wives
at a time and it is not an offence under the Muslim Law. He also found that the marriage between A-1 and A-2
was performed on 21-2-1984 as alleged. It is the first marriage between A-1 and A-2 under the Muslim Law
and it is not a void marriage and no offence has been made out under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code.
16. Sri Bali Reddy, learned Counsel for the appellant contended that the marriage between the appellant and
the 1st respondent (A-1) was not disputed by the 1st respondent. There was not even a suggestion made to
P.W. 1 when she was in the witness box questioning the said marriage and both the parties proceeded under
the impression that P.W. 1 and A-1 are the wife and husband and the finding of the lower appellate court is
not correct. It is further contended that the marriage between A-1 and A-2 was performed on 4-7-1983 in
accordance with the custom as evidenced by P.Ws. 2 to 4, 6 and others and the well considered finding of the
Magistrate ought not to have been set aside by the lower appellate court. It is next contended that the
statement made by A-1 that he married A-2 according to Muslim Law would go to show that he was anxious
to get over the criminal proceedings under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code.
17. Sri Padmanabha Reddy, learned Counsel for respondents-accused contended that under Law, the first and
the second marriages must be proved by the complainant and the find ings of the lower appellate court, basing
on the rulings referred to therein are correct and the findings do not warrant any interference by this Court.
18. In a case of reversing judgment, it is the duty of the court to consider whether the reasoning given by the
lower appellate court in particular is correct, or not. If the reasoning is not correct and if it is not based on
appreciation of correct facts and legal position, then this Court can certainly interfere with the findings of the
lower appellate court.

19. A-1 and P.W. 1 are Hindus by the date of their marriage i.e. 21-4-1977. The marriage under the Hindu
Law is the voluntary union of one man with one woman to the exclusion of all others satisfied by the sole
minzation of the marriage.

B. Chandra Manikyamma, vs B. Sudarsana Rao Alias Saleem ... on 9 September, 1988
. Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act lays down the conditions to be fulfilled In a marriage between any two Hindus. One of the conditions is that neither party has a spouse living at the time of the marriage. Section
7 of the Act says that (1) a Hindu marriage may be solemnized in accordance with the customary rites and
ceremonies of either party thereto; and (2) where such rites and ceremonies include the Saptapadi (that is, the
taking of seven steps by the bridegroom and the bride jointly before the sacred fire), the marriage becomes
complete and binding when the seventh step is taken. Section 11 of the Act deals with void marriages. One of
the conditions, if contravened, which makes a marriage solemnized after the commencement of the Act null
and void, is, if any party thereto has a spouse living at the time of the marriage. Section 17 of the Act
reiterating the position and providing for punishment of bigamy, runs thus:
Any marriage between two Hindus solemnized after the commencement of this Act is void if at the date of
such marriage either party had a husband or wife living; and the provisions of Sections 494 and 495 of the
Indian Penal Code shall apply accordingly.
Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code deals with the offence of bigamy reads as under;
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.
The essential ingredients of the offence are- (i) that the accused had already married some person; (ii) that the
accused married another person; (iii) that the husband or wife to whom the person was first married, as the
case may be, was alive on the date of the second marriage; and (iv) that the second marriage was void by
reason of its taking place during the lifetime of the first spouse of the accused.
21. Construing the provisions of the Act in K. Purnachandra Rao v. K. Sita Devi (1979) 1 APLJ (HC) 339 :
1980 Cri LJ NOC 118, Ramanujulu Naidu, J. found that in a prosecution under Section 494 of the Indian
Penal Code, it is incumbent upon the complainant to establish that both the marriages pleaded by him or her
were solemnized in accordance with the customary rites and ceremonies either prescribed by the Hindu Law
governing the parties or recognised by the custom obtaining in the community to which the parties belong and
that admission of either the first or the second marriage by the accused is no evidence of the marriage.
22. On a reading of the provisions of Sections 5,7,11 and 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, it is clear that at the
time of the second marriage, neither party should have a spouse living. If the spouse is living at the time of (he
second marriage, it is a void marriage.
23. The expression 'spouse' means a lawfully married husband or wife. Before a valid marriage can be
solemnized, both parties to such marriage must be either single or divorced or a widow or a widower and then
only they are competent to enter into a valid marriage. The word 'solemnize' means to celebrate the marriage
with proper ceremonies and in due form.
24. In Bhaurao Shankar Lokhundc v. State of Maharashtra the question arose whether in a prosecution for
bigamy under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code, it was necessary to establish that the second marriage
was duly performed in accordance with the essential religious rites applicable to the form of marriage gone
through. The first appellant in the said case was convicted for an offence under Section 494 of the Indian
Penal Code for going through a marriage which was held to be void by reason of its taking place during the
lifetime of his first wife. It was urged on his behalf that it was necessary for the prosecution to establish that
the alleged second marriage had been duly performed in accordance with the essential religious rites. On the
other hand, it was contended by the State that for the commission of the offence under Section 494 of the
Indian Penal Code it was not necessary that the second marriage should be a valid one and a person going
through any form of marriage during the lifetime of his first wife, would be guilty of the offence. It was not
B. Chandra Manikyamma, vs B. Sudarsana Rao Alias Saleem ... on 9 September, 1988
necessary that the second marriage should be a valid one and a person going through any form of marriage
during the lifetime of his first wife would be guilty of the offence. Rejecting the contentions of the State, their
Lordships of the Supreme Court, on the evidence adduced in the case, held that the prosecution had neither
established that the essential ceremonies had been performed nor that the performance of the essential
ceremonies had been abrogated by the custom governing the community to which the parties belonged. In this
view, it was held that the prosecution in that case had failed to establish that the alleged second marriage had
been performed in accordance with the provisions of Section 7 of the H indu Marriage.Act.
25. In Kanwal Ram v. Himachal Pradesh Administration their Lordships of the Supreme Court reiterating the
principles laid down in Bhaurao's case (supra) held that in a
prosecution for bigamy, the second marriage had not only to be proved as a fact, but it must also be proved
that the necessary ceremonies had been performed. It has also been held that in Law, the admission made by
the accused regarding the second marriage is not evidence of fact of the second marriage having taken place.
In bigamy case, the second marriage, as a fact, that is to say, the ceremonies constituting it, must be proved.
The admission of marriage by the accused is not evidence of it for the purpose of proving the marriage in an
adultery or a bigamy case.
26. In Priya Bala v. Suresh Chandra AIR 1971 SC 1153 the trial Magistrate, after considering the evidence
adduced both regarding the marriage between the appellant and the respondent as well as the alleged second
marriage between the respondent and Sandhya Rani, held that the marriage of the complainant with the
respondent was established. He however found that the accused had admitted the second marriage in his
objections filed to a claim made by the appellant for maintenance under Section 488, Cr.P.C. In view of that
admission, the Magistrate found that there cannot be any doubt that the respondent-husband has married
Sandhya Rani while his first wife (complainant) was still alive. He also found that as the marriage of the
complainant with the accused was subsisting, the second marriage is void under Section 17 of the Hindu
Marriage Act and found the accused guilty of the offence under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code. On
appeal, the Sessions Judge found that the evidence does not establish that the essential ceremonies to
constitute a valid marriage have been performed either in the case of the marriage claimed to have taken place
between the complainant and the accused or in respect of the alleged second marriage with Sandhya Rani and
set aside the. order of the Magistrate convicting the accused for the offence under Section 494 of the Indian
Penal Code. On appeal, the High Court differed from the finding of the learned Sessions Judge regarding the
validity of the marriage between the accused and the complainant. On the other hand, the High Court held that
the evidence establishes that a valid marriage, according to Hindu Law, by which the parties were governed,
has taken place between the complainant and the accused. But regarding the second mariage, the High Court
agreed with the finding of the learned Sessions Judge that the essential ceremonies to constitute a valid
marriage have not been proved to have taken place and the Supreme Court confirmed the order of the
acquittal. Even though the Sessions Judge found that the evidence does not establish that the essential
ceremonies to constitute a valid marriage have been performed in 'the case of the first marriage and even
though it has been reversed by the High Court holding that the evidence establishes that the valid marriage
took place according to Hindu Law, the Supreme Court has not stated anything about the finding of the High
Court with regard to the first marriage. The Supreme Court mainly considered with regard to the validity of
the second marriage. The Supreme Court in the three cases cited above, considered about the proof that is
required in the case of a second marriage and the admissions made by the accused in connection with the
second marriage. In those cases, the Supreme Court never laid down the principle that the same set of
evidence that is required for the proof of second marriage has to be taken into account in the case of first
marriage also.
27. The words used in Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code "whoever marries" and "marriage" relate to
second marriage. The words used in that section "husband or wife" relate to the first marriage. The first
marriage is a past event and the second marriage is a recent event. The words used in Section 494 of the Penal
Code and the words used in Sec 17 of the Hindu Marriage Act have to be considered carefully. If we construe
B. Chandra Manikyamma, vs B. Sudarsana Rao Alias Saleem ... on 9 September, 1988

Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code as it is with reference to Section 17 of the Hindu Marriage Act, it is
clear that if a person marries again while the other spouse was living, it is an offence. The main offence that
has to be proved in a case of bigamy is that a valid marriage took place between the husband or the wife with
another person, while the other spouse was living. One of the conditions to be fulfilled is that they are
husband and wife. The relationship of wife and husband comes in if there is a valid marriage. In the Supreme
Court cases cited above, it was held that the valid ceremonies that are required to be necessary for a Hindu
marriage have to be proved. Homam and Saptapadi are also the essential ceremonies for a valid Hindu
marriage. If the custom dispenses with those two ceremonies, that custom also has to be proved. In Kamma
community, there is no Homam, but Saptapadi is there and it has to be proved by cogent evidence in the case
of a second marriage.
28. It is very difficult to prove all the ceremonies or remember all the events in the case of a past event which
took place about 20 or 30 years ago. With regard to a recent event, i.e. a second marriage which is an offence
punishable under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code, strict proof is required and the same principle has
been laid down by the Supreme Court. For instance, a man aged about 50 years marries a girl of 20 years
while his first wife aged about 45 years is alive. The marriage between the husband and the wife might have
taken place about 25 years ago. Can we expect the persons that were present or the persons who performed the
ceremonies in the marriage, to recollect all the rituals that were observed in the marriage. It is too idle to
expect or to remember the ceremonies observed in the first marriage which is a stale event as against the proof
of a recent marriage which took place one or two years prior to the date of giving evidence.
29. Section 50 of the Evidence Act reads as follows:
Opinion on relationship when relevant:- When the Court has to form an opinion as to the relationship of one
person to another, the opinion, expressed by conduct, as to the existence of such relationship, of any person
who, as a member of the family or otherwise, has special means of knowledge on the subject, to a relevant
fact:
Provided that such opinion shall not be sufficient to prove a marriage in proceedings under the Indian Divorce
Act, 1869 (4 of 1869), or in prosecutions under Section 494, 495, 497 or 498 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860
(45 of 1860).
The Proviso clearly shows that as a fact, the opinion alone itself is not sufficient for proof of the marriage.
Section 50 of the Evidence Act never contemplated that the presumption as a whole cannot be taken into
account in a case of bigamy.
30. In Bharat Singh v. Bhagirath it has been found
that the admissions made by a party are substantive evidence by themselves in view of Sections 17 and 21 of
the Evidence Act and if those admissions are duly proved, are admissible evidence irrespective of the fact the
party making them appeared in the witness box or not and whether such party when appearing as a witness
was confronted with those statements in case it made a statement contrary to those admissions. To prove the
fact that they are husband or wife or spouse, certainly there will be some admissions and the admissions made
by the parties also can be taken into account to prove that they are husband and wife. In the example cited
above, during the 25 years of married life, there may be some admissions and declarations made by both the
parties. Both husband and wife might have given nominations in the insurance policies, G.P.F. account and
other declarations might have been given before the electoral authorities and rationing authorities etc., The
correspondence exchanged between the parties, the wedding cards and other invitations issued by both of
them and the photos taken along with children, the acknowledgment of the in-laws and parents at different
times, all have to be taken into consideration to find out whether they are husband and wife, apart from the
statement that the marriage took place according to Hindu rites. The conduct of the parties, supported by oral
and documentary evidence with regard to the admissions also can be taken into consideration with regard to
B. Chandra Manikyamma, vs B. Sudarsana Rao Alias Saleem ... on 9 September, 1988
the proof of the first marriage.
31. The Supreme Court has pointed out thai the admission of the accused in his 313 Cr.P.C. examination or in
a proceeding under Section 488 (old) Cr.P.C. cannot be taken into account. The admission that was considered
in the Supreme Court case is with regard to the second marriage.
32. In Neelaveni v. Venkateswara Rao (unreported judgment in Crl. Appeal No. 1209 of 1987 dated
12-8-1988) the following facts have been brought out. The husband filed an application for divorce on the
ground that his wife is living in adultery. After due contest, the petition filed by the husband under the Hindu
Marriage Act was dismissed. The wife and the two sons filed a petition under Section 125 Cr.P.C. for
maintenance. After contest, the court ordered maintenance for the wife and the two children also. The husband
married again after conversion into Islam. In that case it has been found that the order of dismissal in the O.P.
filed under the Hindu Marriage Act and the order passed under Section 125 Cr.P.C. were sufficient proof of
the factum of the first marriage.
33. When two competent courts tried the case under the Hindu Marriage Act and under Section 125 Cr.P.C.
and found the parties as husband and wife, can we still insist in the case of bigamy that the first marriage also
has to be proved by adducing evidence that Homamand Saptapadiand other ceremonies have taken place, or
not. If we read Section 50 of the Evidence Act coupled with the orders passed by the two competent courts, it
can be held that there is a valid first marriage between Neelaveni and A-l. In that case, though the second
marriage was held, it was not proved in the strict form as laid down by the Supreme Court.
34. In Ram Singh v. Susila Bai AIR 1970 Mys 201 it has been pointed out that the enquiry under Section 488
(old) Cr.P.C. is only a summary enquiry and the enquiry for the offence under Section 494 of the Indian Penal
Code must be an elaborate one. Though the proceedings under Section 25 Cr.P.C. have to be tried summarily,
still it can be said that there is a valid marriage as the husband himself never disputed the existence of the first
marriage. It.is only the relationship of husband and wife that has to be proved in Section 125 Cr.P.C.
proceedings.
35. In Priya Bala's case AIR 1971 SC 1153 (supra) the question regarding the admissibility of the admission
contained in Ex.2 and also the admission contained in Ex.4 was raised. In that case, the trial court found that
the evidence on the side of the complainant regarding the alleged second marriage is very scanty. But since
the accused has admitted the second marriage in Ex.4 which was an objection filed by the respondent in an
application filed by the appellant for maintenance under Section 488 Cr.P.C. the Supreme Court found that no
admission of the second marriage by the accused with Sandhya Rani can be culled out from Ex.4 and as there
is no admission contained in Ex.4, the finding of the Magistrate was clearly erroneous. In a proceeding under
Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code filed by the applicant on an earlier occasion on the ground that the latter
has contracted a second marriage with Sandhya Rani, the complaint was however withdrawn as the particular
court has no jurisdiction. In that proceeding, the appellant wanted the said Sandhya Rani to be summoned as a
witness. To that application, the accused filed an objection Ex.2 wherein no doubt he has admitted that
Sandhya Rani is his wife and that he married her because of the misconduct of the appellant. The High Court
considered the question whether the statement of the accused in Ex-2 that he married Sandhya Rani can be
treated as an admission of the fact of the second marriage. The High Court was of the view that the statement
contained in Ex.2 would really be a confessional statement and declined to act on the same for two reasons -
firstly, that the statement in Ex.2 had not been put to the accused when he was examined under Section 342
Cr.P.C. so as to give him an opportunity to explain the statements contained therein; and secondly, that even if
the statement contained in Ex-2 can be taken into account by themselves, they will not be proof of the fact that
all the essential ceremonies necessary for a marriage have been performed. The Supreme Court held that the
view taken by the High Court is substantially correct. It further held that though the statements contained in
Ex. 2 may not be a confession, nevertheless, those statements, if acted upon, tend to incriminate the
respondent and the respondent being in the position of an accused, was entitled to be given an opportunity of
offering his explanation, if any, in respect of the incriminating statement contained in Ex.2. Such an
B. Chandra Manikyamma, vs B. Sudarsana Rao Alias Saleem ... on 9 September, 1988

opportunity has not been admittedly given to the respondent. Hisstatement in Ex.2 has not been put to him
when he was examined under Section 342 Cr.P.C. While staling so, the Supreme Court found that the
admission contained in Ex.2 cannot, in law, be treated as evidence of the second marriage having taken place,
in an adultery or bigamy case; and that in such cases, it must be proved by the prosecution that the second
marriage, as a fact, has taken place after the performance of the essential ceremonies.
36. In L. Obulamma v. Venkat Reddy the trial Magistrate and the Sessions Judge convicted the accused for
the offence under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code. In that case, the accused married the complainant on
22-4-1968. There was no divorce. On 1-4-1972, accused No. 1 married accused No. 4. The High Court
allowed the revision and acquitted the accused on the ground that there was no proof of a valid marriage
having been contracted between the accused No. 4 and accused No. 1. The point that was involved before the
Supreme Court is as to whether or not the second marriage contracted by accused No. 4 was a legally valid
marriage. The High Court pointed out that under the Hindu Law, the two essential ceremonies of a valid
marriage are Datta Homam and Saptapadi, i.e. taking seven steps around the sacred fire. The High Court
found that there was absolutely no evidence to prove that any of these two essential ceremonies had been
performed, and, therefore, the marriage was void in the eye of law. The High Court set aside the conviction
under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code. The contention that was raised was that the parties belong to
Reddy community and were therefore governed by custom and under the custom, the two essential
ceremonies mentioned by the High Court were not necessary at all to constitute a valid marriage.
37. Re Raghava Reddy was concerned only with Reddy
community in Telangana alone, and the accused in L. Obulamma case (supra) belong to Reddy community
not of Telangana
area, but that of Rayalaseem area and the judgment in Raghava Reddy's case (supra) cannot be of any avail. It
was held that as the existence of the custom was neither mentioned in the complaint nor proved in the
evidence, it would be difficult for the Supreme Court to rely on the decision of the High Court which was
based on the evidence, facts and circumstances of the case before it. They agreed with the High Court that as
the two essential ceremonies have not been performed at the time of the second marriage and the existence of
the custom was neither mentioned in the complaint nor proved in the evidence, the conviction under Section
494 of the Indian Penal Code could not be sustained. There is no dispute with regard to the essential
ceremonies being followed in the absence of custom pleaded and proved by the party.
38. In Abdul Hamid v. Asghari 1973 Cri LJ 1710 (All) the parties are Muslims. The trial court, on
consideration of the evidence adduced in the case, accepted the defence plea that the marriage of respondent
No. 1 with the appellant had been dissolved before she was re-married to respondent No. 3. In consequence of
this conclusion, the trial court acquitted all the respondents. It is against that, an appeal has been filed. The
view expressed in Bhaurao's case (supra); Kanwal Ram's case (supra) and Priya Bala's case AIR 1971 SC
1153 (supra) has been applied by the Allahabad High Court and the Allahabad High Court held that the
principle laid down in the aforesaid three cases, though the parties were Hindus, should equally apply to
Muslim marriage, for, the Mohammadan Law also prescribes some ceremonies as essential to the
solemnisation of a marriage.
39. In Godawari v. State of Maharashtra 1985 Cri LJ 1472 (Bom) the Magistrate acquitted the accused. The
complainant (wife) filed an appeal. In that case the Magistrate found that the first marriage of accused No. 1
with the complainant was established since accused No. 1 in his statement under Section 313 of the Criminal
Procedure Code himself admitted the said marriage. The Magistrate held that the first marriage was subsisting
when the alleged second marriage was solemnized by accused No. 1 with accused No. 8. As regards the
second marriage of accused No. 1 with accused No. 8, he held on the basis of the evidence of the witnesses
examined on behalf of the complainant that accused No. 1 married accused No. 8 according to the ceremonies
and the customary rites of the caste to which they belonged as deposed to by the witnesses. He held that the
B. Chandra Manikyamma, vs B. Sudarsana Rao Alias Saleem ... on 9 September, 1988

second marriage was validly seolemnized between accused No. 1 and accused No. 8. Having held that the
second marriage was validly performed between accused No. 1 and accused No. 8 during the subsistence of
the first marriage, he held that accused No. 1 was guilty of the offence punishable under Section 494 of the
Indian Penal Code and sentenced the other accused also. The Sessions Judge on appeal found that the first
marriage between the complainant and accused No. 1 cannot be held to be proved merely by the admission of
accused No. 1 in his statement under Section 313 Cr.P.C. and he held that to establish that there was a first
valid marriage between the complainant and accused No. 1, the complainant should have led requisite
evidence of the solemnisation of the said marriage. No such evidence with regard to the first marriage of
accused No. 1 with the complainant was led on behalf of the complainant. Hence he held that the complainant
failed to prove that there was a valid marriage performed between her and theaccusedNo. 1 which was
subsisting during the alleged second marriage contracted by accused No. l with accused No. 8.Withregard to
the alleged second marriage of A-1 with A-8, he held that the evidence of the two witnesses examined on
behalf of the complainant was not worthy of credence because in the first place they were related to the
complainant and were, therefore, interested witnesses and also because of their conduct in not reporting the
matter either to the police or to the complainant immediately after they witnessed the solemnisation of the
alleged illegal second marriage. The accused were acquitted. The first question that was considered is whether
the statement under Section 313 Cr.P.C. about the first marriage can be accepted. The reasoning given in
Kanwal Ram's case (supra) was considered. The learned Judge was also
aware of the fact that in the Supreme Court cases, the question of validity of the second marriage alone was
considered. But, however, by taking into consideration the observation of the Supreme Court, it was found
that the mere statement of the accused is not sufficient to prove the marriage in the case of bigamy. The
learned Judge took into consideration that for an offence under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code, both the
marriages must be legal and valid. Unless these ingredients are satisfied, the accused cannot be punished for
an offence of bigamy. The learned Judge observed as follows:
If Section 494 requires a strict proof of the validity of the second marriage, it is not understandable why such
a strict proof is not required for the first marriage also. It would, therefore, follow that if for the proof of the
second marriage, it is necessary for the complainant to prove all the essential requirements of a legal and valid
marriage, then by the same standard and by the same reasoning it is necessary for him to prove all the
essential requirements to show that the first marriage was also performed validly.
40. In Gopal Lal v. State of Rajasthan also, the question about the validity of the first marriage was not raised
before the Supreme Court. The question was with reference to the second marriage. The learned Judge found
that the ratio of the Supreme Court in the above decisions cannot be restricted to the second marriage. If this is
so, since the essentials required for proving the first marriage are not deposed to by any of the witnesses, the
learned Sessions Judge rightly held that the first marriage is not proved by the complainant. In this view of the
matter, the other question - whether the second marriage was validly performed or not really does not survive
for consideration and the accused cannot be held guilty of the offence under Section 494 of the Indian Penal
Code since the complainant has failed to prove that her marriage with accused No. 1 was legal and valid. The
finding with regard to the second marriage by the Sessions Judge has been confirmed.
41. In Malan v. State of Bombay AIR 1960 Bom 393 the principle laid down by the Bombay High Court is
that in order that an offence under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code may be committed, it is necessary, at
least, that all the ceremonies which are necessary to be performed in order that a valid marriage may take
place, ought to be performed and, ordinarily, all these ceremonies would amount to a valid marriage but for
the fact that the marriage becomes void on account of the existence of a previous wife.
42. In Vanajakshamma v.P. Gopala Krishna AIR 1970 Mys 305 petitioner No. 1 stated that she got married to
the respondent at Tirupathi. She has not been asked what were the ceremonies that she underwent during the
said marriage. There is no evidence to show that she has not undergone the ceremonies necessary for a valid
marriage. In the notice Ex.P-2 given by her to the respondent, she has stated that she has undergone the
B. Chandra Manikyamma, vs B. Sudarsana Rao Alias Saleem ... on 9 September, 1988
marriage according to the religious rites. Following Bhaurao's case (supra) it was held that the
prosecution should prove that the marriage has been duly solemnised and the proceedings under Section 488
Cr.P.C. are summary in nature, meant to prevent vagrancy. That standard of proof of marriage in proceedings
under Section 488 Cr.P.C. (old) need not be so high as required in prosecutions for bigamy or proceedings
under the Divorce Act. In that context, they referred to the Proviso to Section 50 of 'the Evidence Act which
reads as under:
Provided that such opinion shall not be sufficient to prove a marriage in a proceedings under the Indian
Divorce Act or in prosecutions under Sections 494, 495, 497 or 498 of the Indian Penal Code.
The Proviso does not refer to proceedings under Section 488 (old) Cr.P.C. It only says that such opinion shall
not be necessary to a marriage in proceedings under the Indian Divorce Act or in prosecutions for bigamy
under the Indian Divorce Act.
43. In J.K.B. David v. Nimamoni Devi Narasimham, J. (as he then was) has pointed out that Section 488
Cr.P.C, is not included in the proviso to Section 50 of the Evidence Act and hence for proving a marriage
under Section 488 Cr. P.C. (old) the standard of proof need not be so high as required in proceedings under
the Indian Divorce Act or in prosecutions under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code. In that, it has been
observed that even an opinion expressed, by conduct of persons who had special means of knowledge of the
subject, may suffice to prove the fact of marriage in a proceeding under Section 488 Cr.P.C.
44. In Ram Singh v. Susila Bai AIR 1970 Mys 201 (supra) the High Court considered the two essentials, i.e.
invocation before sacred fire and Saptapadi. It was also found that the evidence of ceremonies performed at
the time of the marriage let in by the complainant is discrepant and conflicting and there is no evidence that
Saptapadi was performed and the accused is entitled to the benefit of doubt. When there is suspicion that the
second marriage was not solemnised according to Hindu rites, the accused-husband is entitled for the benefit
of this ruling. In the above Supreme Court cases it was held that under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code
read with Section 17 of the Hindu Marriage Act, the prosecution must prove that the essential ceremonies for
a valid marriage were gone through by the accused.
45. In Venkat asubbarayudu v. Venkatiah this Court
had held that the marriage between A-1 and A-2 was not a marriage in the proper form and hence it has to be
held that the marriage has not yet been solemnised. The High Court also affirmed the finding that if the
second marriage is not a valid one according to the law applicable to the parties, no question of its being void
by reason of its taking place during the life of the husband or wife of the person marrying arises. The High
Court also found that no offence has been committed under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code when the
second marriage is not valid. In that case, the appellant canvassed the validity of the second marriage only.
46. In M.B. Krishnarama Raju v. Tirupathamma 1975 Cri LJ 208 (Andh Pra); an appeal was filed by the
husband whose complaint against his wife and others for the offence under Sections 494 and 495 read with.
Section 109 of the Indian Penal Code had resulted in an acquittal of the accused of the charges framed against
them. In that case, the Magistrate on a consideration of the evidence, found that the first marriage between the
complainant and A-1 as well as the second marriage between A-1 and A-2 did in fact take place. The
Magistrate held that the marriages are not legal marriages and as such the provisions of Section 494 of the
Indian Penal Code are not attracted In that case, it is not the case of the accused that the marriage between A-1
and the complainant was not performed as per Hindu rites and it was not a valid marriage. PW-1 the husband
stated that he had married A-1 as per Hindu rites at his father-in-law's house at China Lingala village on
14-5-1966. Both A-1 who is admittedly the wife and A-3 his father-in-law have admitted the marriage in their
statements. PWs. 5 and 7 who have attended the marriage, have also spoken to it. Ex.P-1 is the marriage
invitation card admittedly issued for the said marriage. PW-6 the Purohit who performed the marriage, had
B. Chandra Manikyamma, vs B. Sudarsana Rao Alias Saleem ... on 9 September, 1988

turned hostile and did not speak to the ceremonies that were conducted. The learned Judge held as follows:
The fact that PW-6 the Purohit who performed the marriage had turned hostile and would not speak to the
ceremonies that were conducted, would not make the marriate invalid. Hindu marriages are not registered.
Evidence with regard to the marriages that has necessarily to be let in is mainly oral, except for the production
of invitation card if available and preserved. It will be unfortunate if for want of certain details with regard to
the ceremonies performed, these marriages are to be held to be invalid and not legal with its damaging
consequences, especially when all the parties are agreed that a valid marriage had been performed. I,
therefore, on the above considerations find that the marriage between the petitioner and A-1 is a valid
marriage.
47. Till the passing of the Hindu Marriage Act and incorporation of Section 17 therein, any number of
marriages by a Hindu husband were valid, as it was permitted under Hindu Law. During the subsistence of the
marriage in the lifetime of the spouses, if any one of the spouses contracted another marriage,he or she will be
guilty of the offence under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code. Even with regard to second marriage, what
Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code requires is the taking place of a second marriage which is void by reason
of either of the spouses of the first marriage living at that time. In that case, the petitioner in his petition has
stated that the first marriage was performed according to Hindu rites. He did not plead any custom. In the
second marriage of A-1 and A-2 admittedly the ceremonies of Homain and Saptapadi have not been
performed, though the marriage as per the evidence and the finding of the two courts below, did take place.
Even the Archakas who presided over the marriage, stated that the marriage was performed according to the
Puranayuktha procedure and as per its requirements. The Homam and Saptapadi are not necessary and it was
also not established that Puranayuktha form of rituals is the one adopted as the custom of their community at
their marriages. It was found that the second marriage was not a valid marriage and not being a valid
marriage, the provisions of Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code are not attracted and the appeal was
dismissed.
48. In the case on hand, PW-1 the wife stated that the marriage between her and A-1 was solemnised at
Tirupathi according to Hindu rites on 21 -4-1977. During the wedlock, one male child was born two years
after the marriage. In cross-examination nowhere it has been suggested that the marriage between her and A-1
is an invalid one, or the ceremonies as required, did not take place. On the other hand, the suggestions given to
her shows that having no other alternative for her continued refusal for A-1 to marry, A-1 and A-2 got
themselves converted into Mohammadanism and entered into the marriage under the Muslim Law. The
suggestion is only with regard to the second marriage between A-1 and A-2. PW-2 stated that the marriage
between PW-1 and A-1 was solemnised on 21-4-1977 at Tirupathi according to Hindu rites. In
cross-examination also he stated that he questioned A-7 and A-8 why they performed the marriage of A-1 and
A-2 when his wife is alive. In cross-examination there is no dispute about the statement made by PW-2 about
the 1st marriage. The questions that have been suggested to PW-2 show that they affirmed the first marriage
as a correct one and they never disputed the same. PW-4 stated that PW-1 is the wife of A-1 and PW-1 is the
daughter of his elder brother. In cross-examination he stated that he called out A-3 separately and talked to
him as to why he was performing the marriage when the first wife is alive. Nowhere in cross-examination it
has been elicited to anyone of the witnesses that there is no marriage or a valid marriage between A-1 and
PW-1. inVanajakshamma's case AIR 1970 Mys 305 (supra) a notice has been given by the wife to her
husband wherein she stated that she has undergone the marriage according to Hindu Law. In that case also, the
evidence is that she got married to the respondent at Tirupathi and she has not been asked what were the
ceremonies thai she underwent.
49. In this case, the complainant issued the notice stating that the marriage was performed according to Hindu
rites. To that, reply has been sent by the husband. The husband has stated that the marriage between the
complainant and himself took place at Tirupathi not on 21-4-1976 but on 21-4-1977. In that reply notice, he
admitted about the factum of the marriage and the father-in-law who gave the reply also admitted about the
factum of the marriage and giving birth to the child. When nothing suggested or elicited in cross-examination
B. Chandra Manikyamma, vs B. Sudarsana Rao Alias Saleem ... on 9 September, 1988

 10and when there is a clear admission about the existence of the first marriage in the reply notice much earlier to
the filing of the complaint, it cannot be said that there is no valid first marriage at all.
50. The marriage between the complainant and A-1 is a valid one and it is subsisting. The degree of proof
required for the second marriage is not the same for the proof of relationship of husband or wife or spouse.
The words used in Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 17 of the Hindu Marriage Act 'husband',
'wife' or 'spouse' have to be taken into consideration in order to make out a clear distinction with regard to the
mode of proof for the first and second marriages.
51. It is not well-settled that for the proof of the first marriage, the same degree of proof that is required for a
second marriage is necessary. Apart from the presumption under Section 50 of the Evidence Act, the
admissions and the other surrounding circumstantial evidence that has been brought in to prove that they are
husband and wife is sufficient to hold that they are husband and wife or spouse. It is well-settled that it is
incumbent upon the complainant to establish that the second marriage pleaded by him or her, was solemnised
in accordance with the customary rites and ceremonies either prescribed by the Hindu Law governing the
parties or recognised by the custom obtaining in the community to which the parties belonged and any
admission made by the accused in that regard cannot constitute evidence of that fact.
52. Sub-section (l) of Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, lays down:
Any marriage solemnized, whether before or after the commencement of the Act, may, on a petition presented
by eitherthe husband or the wife, be dissolved by a decree of divorce on the ground that the other party has
ceased to be a Hindu by conversion to another religion.
Section 13 of the Act provided for legal dissolution1 of marriage. So long as such divorce has not been
obtained by one of the two parties on presentation of a petition from a competent court, the marriage subsists
and a second marriage cannot be contracted Ishwar Singh v. Hukam Kaur .
53. N.R. Raghavachariar on Hindu Law Principles and Precedents (VII Edition Vol. II Section 13(6) at page
1036) stated the Law thus:
It must be distinctly understood that conversion to an alien faith does not ipso facto result in divorce of the
converted spouse from the other spouse. A petition is necessary for the purpose.
54. The marriage ' between the complainant and A-1 is a valid one and it is subsisting. Even assuming for a
moment that the conversion is there and A-1 the husband, ceased to be a Hindu, he is not entitled to divorce
under Section 13(l)(ii) of the Hindu Marriage Act on the ground that he himself got converted from Hinduism
to Mohammedanism. The language of the sections is very clear and it states that 'on a petition presented by a
spouse, either the husband or the wife for a decree of divorce on the ground that the other party has ceased to
be a Hindu by conversion to another religion". It is quite apparent that the husband can file a petition against
the wife only on the ground that she got heFself converted from Hinduism to any other religion and it is not
open to the husband to invoke the provisions of Section 13 of the Act and seek dissolution of the marriage on
the ground of his own conversion from Hinduism to any other religion. There is a clear bar for the husband to
file a petition for divorce on the ground of his changing religion. There is no rule of Hindu Law which forbids
the subsistence of the marriage between the wife and the husband, in spite of the husband changing his
religion to Mohammadanism and the conversion does not operate, per se, or ipso facto as a dissolution of a
niarriage. On the face of the suggestion that the marriage between A-1 and A-2 took place according to
Mohammadan Law on the refusal of the complainant, it is clear that A-1 wants to get over the penal
consequences of Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code. A-1 does not cease to be a Hindu merely because he
professes a theoretical allegience to another faith on the ground that he wants to have a second wife. If A-1
abdicates his religion by a clear act or renunciation and adopts the other religion by undergoing the formal
conversion, he would cease to be a Hindu within the meaning of Clause 13(l)(ii) of the Act. It is now
B. Chandra Manikyamma, vs B. Sudarsana Rao Alias Saleem ... on 9 September, 1988

well-settled principle of matrimonial law that decrees of dissolution of marriage are to be made only upon
strict proof. The court cannot pass a decree granting.any relief under the Act in favour of husband who is in
any way taking advantage of his or her own wrong or disability for the purpose of such relief. A right to get a
divorce on the ground of change of religion is given to the party who continues to be a Hindu. A-1 who has
converted himself into Mohammadanism is not entitled to seek divorce of his first wife also.
55. As no divorce has been obtained, the marriage between A-1 and PW-1 is still subsisting.
56. Having found that A-1 and PW-1 are husband and wife, we Ijave to scrutinise the evidence with regard to
the proof of the second marriage. The burden is on the complainant to prove that the marriage was solemnised
according to Hindu rites and if there is any custom dispensing with the formalities, that custom also has to be
proved.
57. In this case, the parties belong to Kamma community and Saptapadi is a must. PWs. 2 to 4 and 6 are the
witnesses that were examined to speak about the second marriage. PWs. 2 to 4 did not state that Saptapadi did
take place at the time of the second marriage between A-1 and A-2. PW-6 stated that touching of feet by each
other is a Saptapadi and it is a custom in Kamma community. The meaning of Saptapadi is entirely different
and what PW-6 stated is not correct. According to these witnesses, the marriage between A-1 and A-2 was
performed on 4-7-1983 through putting"Jeelakarra and bellam' on their heads and chanting mantras and tying
a 'Tali' (Mangala Sutram) and putting sacred fire. When the second marriage is alleged to have been
performed under the Hindu rites between A- I and A-2, strict proof of ceremonies are necessary. As there is
no clinching evidence about the proof of Saptapadi and other ceremonies required for a marriage in Kamma
community, it can be said that though the marriage as such has been performed, strict solemnisation of the
marriage as required under the law for an offence under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code has not been
proved.
58. In Sitaratnam v. Venkata Ramakrishna (unreported judgment in Crl. Appeal No. 753/87 dt. 17-8-'88) the
first marriage was held to be a valid marriage by the Magistrate and the same was confirmed by the Sessions
Judge. The dispute is only with regard to the fact of the second marriage of A-l. Both the courts below found
that the second marriage has taken place at Simhachalam Temple as alleged, but the necessary ceremonies
that are required for a valid marriage, have not been proved. The direct evidence adduced with regard to the
fact urn of the second marriage was found to be a doubtful one. As there is no valid second marriage in the
eye of law, the finding of the two courts has been confirmed.
59. In Veeraraghavamma v. Somayya (unreported judgment in Crl. Appeal No. 602/87 dt. 16-8-'88) there is
no dispute with regard to the first marriage. With regard to the second marriage, the direct evidence is there
and Ex.P-5 certificate, evidencing the fact that the marriage took place between A-1 and Venkateswaramma,
the second wife is also there. In the office register maintained by the Venkateswara Swamy Temple,
Jamalapuram, the signatures of the parties are also available. In the evidence it has been brought out that both
A-1 and the second wife were seen coming together from the temple. No evidence has been let in with regard
to the performance of Homam and Saptapadi. this Court held that the certificate from the temple where the
second marriage took place, is not sufficient to draw a presumption that there is a valid marriage according to
Hindu Law and held that the marriage between A-1 and the second wife Venkateswaramma is invalid, even
though they were found living together immediately after the marriage at the house of the husband and the
marriage between A-1 and the complainant was held to be a valid one.
60. In Krishna Ramaraju case (1975 Cri LJ 208) (Andh, Pra) (supra) the second marriage of A-1 and A-2 was
admittedly done, but the solemnisation of Homam and Saptapadi were not performed though the marriage did
take place. It was found that the second marriage was not a valid one and not being a valid marriage, the
provisions of Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code are not attracted and the appeal was dismissed.
B. Chandra Manikyamma, vs B. Sudarsana Rao Alias Saleem ... on 9 September, 1988

. During the subsistence of the first marriage the second marriage will generally be done in secrecy. It is too
idle to expect direct testimony. In some cases, the Purohit also who performed the marriage will be treated as
an abettor. The courts are giving acquittals on the ground that the required ceremonies for the second marriage
have not been proved beyond reasonable doubt. When an exception has already been made in Section 494 of
the Indian Penal Code that if the whereabouts of the persons were not known, the other spouse can marry and
the other effected person cannot file any application for the offence of bigamy. I am of the view that suitable
legislation has to be made with regard to the mode of proof of the second marriage. If the marriage was done
publicly and openly to the knowledge of one and all, the court can expect direct evidence. When second
marriages are being performed in secrecy knowing fully well that it is an offence and if the courts insist on
strict proof, it amounts to encouraging perjury. The motto of the court is not to encourage perjury, but to find
out the real truth and convict the accused if there is a second marriage. Unfortunately, none of the social
organisations which claim about the protection of the rights of women, have taken any steps to see that
suitable legislation be made with regard to the mode of proof or performance of the second marriage. If the
second marriage is by adopting a simple formula of changing his own religion, then there would be no safety
for the first wife and no useful purpose would be served for the penal consequences that have been
contemplated under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code. If the easy course as is now made by A-1 and A-2
for getting married under Muslim Law is permitted, every husband who feels inconvenience to continue the
matrimonial relations with his wife, will have recourse to law for such a conversion and have the marriage and
claim that he can have four wives at a time and the possibility of his getting a clean acquittal, in spite that the
admission by him, is there.
62. The second marriage in this case between A-1 and A-2, according to Hindu rites though performed on
4-7-1983, has not been duly proved strictly in accordance with the principles laid down by the Supreme Court.
63. Now we have to consider the marriage of A-1 and A-2 under the Muslim Law. The case set up by the
accused is that due to the refusal of the complainant, A-1 and A-2 got themselves into Islam and entered into
the marriage under the Muslim Law. The case of the complainant is that having realised that action may be
taken for the second marriage, the accused got converted themselves into Islam and married on 21-2-1984.
64. Section 252 of Mulla's Principles of Mphammadan Law says that it is essential to the validity of a
marriage that there should be a proposal made by or on behalf of one of the parties to the marriage and an
acceptance of the proposal by or on behalf of the other in presence and hearing of two male or one male and
two female witnesses who must be sane and adult Mohammadans. In Section 254 it has been stated that a
marriage contracted without witnesses as required by Section 252 is irregular, but not void. A joint reading of
Sections 252 and 254 of the Mohammadan Law, therefore, leads to this conclusion that it is essential to the
validity of a marriage that there should be a proposal made by or on behalf of one of the parties to the
marriage and an acceptance to the proposal by or on behalf of the other. It is this ceremony, the
non-performance of which will render a marriage void. The omission to have witnesses to the marriage will
only render the marriage irregular and not void. In Abdul Hamid's case (1973 Cri LJ 1710) (supra) the
Allahabad High Court held that the principle laid down by the Supreme Court with regard to the second
marriage, though the parties were Hindus, should equally apply to Muslim marriage, for the Mohammadan
Law also prescribes some ceremonies as essential to the solemnization of a marriage.
65. A-1 made an admission about the second marriage in his reply notice as under:
It is true that my client No. 1 married my client No. 2 as already stated Their marriage cannot be invalid or
illegal as they are converted Mohammadans prior to the marriage and their marriage has taken place according
to Mohammadan Law.
Apart from relying upon the admissions made by the accused, the prosecution has examined PWs. 5 and 7 to
prove the factum of the marriage under the Muslim Law between A-1 and A-2. PW-5 is an illiterate and he is
the custodian of the Nikka register. According to him, the marriage of A-1 is performed in the house of Mirza
B. Chandra Manikyamma, vs B. Sudarsana Rao Alias Saleem ... on 9 September, 1988
Mohishin Ali. Ex.P-1 is the photostat copy of the Nikka register. In cross examination PW-5 stated that
himself, Mohammad Issac and four Hindus and Mirja Mohishin Ali (PW-7) went to the house of the bride by
name Laila Banu. The bride, on enquiry by PW-7, consented to the marriage. Thereafter, they questioned A-1
about his willingness and he too consented to the marriage and the marriage was performed and he is one of
the attestors. In further cross-examination he stated that the marriage was performed according to Shia Law
and he did not know the names of the bride and bridegroom in Ex.D-1. PW-7 is working as a Moulvi for
Alinekkipalem, hamlet of Shoragundi. He stated that he chanted the Nikha mantras for the marriage of Laila
Banu and Saleem Mohammed on 21-2-1984 and he made the entry at page 52 of the Nikka register.
According to him, there is no practice of verifying whether the bridegroom attends Masjid for Namaj before
performing the marriage. In cross-examination he stated that since about two or three months prior to the
marriage, Saleem Mohammed and Laila Banu converted into Mohammadanism and they were attending the
mosque for festivals on all Fridays. According to him, a male Mohammadan can marry four ladies.
66. The marriage as performed by PW-7 is in accordance with the ceremonies prescribed under the Muslim
Law. The conversion as such is found to be a doubtful one. The conversion is only for the purpose of having a
second marriage. There is no proof that A-2 in particular converted into Mohammadanism. The marriage was
performed according to Shia Law. In Shia Law, a marriage between a Muslim male and a non-Muslim female
is unlawful and void; and so also is a marriage between a Muslim female and a non-Muslim male. As there is
no proof about the conversion except the admission as A-1 and A-2 continued to be Hindus even after they
converted into Mohammadanism, the marriage though performed according to Muslim Law, cannot be
deemed to be a valid marriage.

67. In this connection, we have to consider whether the conversion is real and bona fide, or not. If the
conversion is found to be not correct basing on the faith, we have to hold that the marriage that was performed
under the colour of conversion, cannot be treated as a valid marriage. Regarding the conversion of A-1 and
A-2 into Islam, there is no proof and no evidence except the bald statement of PW-7. Since how long they are
attending the Masjid, was not known, nor was explained except mentioning that fact in the reply notice Ex.P-2
to the effect that A-1 was converted into Mohammadanism on 12-10-1983 and A
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Re: B. Chandra Manikyamma VS B. Sudarsana Rao - Nullity of Marriage
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2013, 08:30:33 PM »
68. In Ex.P-2 reply notice it is only mentioned (hat in the years 1982 and 1983 A-1 worked as a clerk in Rao
Structural Works Private Limited Contractors at the Steel Plant, Visakhapatnam. In the very same notice, it
has been mentioned that A-1 was converted into Mohammadanism on 12-10-1983, professing faith in
Mohammadanism that there is but one God and that Mohammed is His Prophet and by reading Kalma in the
Masjid in Alineekipalem, hamlet of Shoragudi village, Vuyyur taluk in Krishna district in the presence of
Kazi of the said Masjid and four other Muslim elders in that village. None of those four muslim elders were
examined to prove the conversion. The conversion is. within the special knowledge of A-1 and A-2. PW-7 has
not mentioned the date of conversion as 12-10-1983. When the accused was working at Visakhapatnam
during the year 1983, it is impossible for him to come all the way to Krishna district and convert himself into
Mohammadanism, that too in a remote village. Except the statement about the conversion, there is no
evidence on behalf of A-1 and A-2 to show that they followed Muslim faith and by conviction they converted.
On the other hand, their conversion is the result of the refusal of PW-1 to give her consent to the second
marriage. Their alleged conversion without following the religion in effect and practice after the marriage,
shows that it is only to get over the penal consequences for the offence under Section 494 of the Indian Penal
Code this conversion has taken place. The contents in Ex. P-2 reveal the mind of the accused that he wants to
get over the penal consequences of the second marriage. The evidence of PW-1 supported by the reasoning
given by me above shows that the conversion is only 'for convenience and not by conviction. The screening of
the property of A-1 and obtaining a relinquishment deed in the year 1983 with a stipulation that the property
has already been relinquished even prior to the date of the first marriage indicates the guilty mind of A-1 and
his parents. The evidence of PW-1 supported by the evidence shows that the release deed obtained from A-1
is only for the purpose of second marriage and A-1 and A-2 cannot be treated as having any faith in Islam. No
doubt the court cannot go into the motive for conversion, but the conversion, prima facie. indicates that it is
only for convenience and the evidence establishes that before and after the marriage, A-1 and A-2 were
treated as Hindus. It cannot be said that a valid marriage between A-1 and A-2 took place according to Shia
Law.
69. Even though the formalities have been complied with during the performance of the marriage under
Muslim Law, it cannot be treated as a valid marriage.
70. From the discussion made above, it is clear that though the second marriage between A-1 and A-2 was
performed in the house of A-7, the complainant failed to prove that the required ceremonies i.e. Saptapadi in
particular has been performed during that marriage. The complainant failed to prove the second marriage
between A-1 and A-2 under Hindu Law as a valid marriage. If the second marriage under Hindu rites or
according to custom is a valid marriage, then only the question of committing the offence under Section 494
of the Indian Penal Code read with Section 17 of the Hindu Marriage Act arises. Though the required
B. Chandra Manikyamma, vs B. Sudarsana Rao Alias Saleem ... on 9 September, 1988
ceremonies have been observed at the time of the marriage of A-1 and A-2 under Muslim Law, the
complainant was able to succeed that prior to or after the marriage, A-1 and A-2 remained as Hindu and are
observing the Hindu formalities only and were treated by the society as Hindus. A marriage contracted by a
Hindu under the guise of the conversion by following Muslim ceremonies strictly, though not following the
faith in Islam either before or after the marriage, cannot be treated that he has contracted a valid marriage
under the Muslim Law.
71. On the facts of this case, A-l, a Hindu, married another Hindu belongs to another village, under Muslim
riteson21-2-1984. The marriage though performed according to Muslim rites and valid according to that Law,
cannot be treated as a valid marriage, as the evidence reveals that they have no faith and they are not
following Mohammadanism prior to or subsequent to the marriage. The marriage contracted for convenience
without conviction in Mohammadanism by two Hindu (male and a female) cannot be treated as a valid
marriage. The marriage between A-1 and A-2 under Muslim Law as alleged to have taken place on 21-2-1984
is an invalid marriage.
72. Now the question that falls for consideration is whether the complainant was able to prove that A-3 to A-8
abetted the offence of bigamy.
73. In Malan's case AIR 1960 Bom 393 (supra) it was held that the mere presence at the commission of crime
even with the awareness that a crime was being committed, is not in itself an intentional aid. To be present
and to be aware that an offence is about to be committed does not constitute the abetment unless the person
thus present holds some position of rank or influence such that his countenancing what takes place may, under
the circumstances, be held a direct encouragement.
74. In this case t he allegation is that apart from A-1 and A-2, the remaining accused were present and they are
abettors. The evidence of PWs. 2, 4 and 6 reveals that the accused were present at the time of the second
marriage on 4-7-1983 at Teluguraopalem. The evidence also shows that four Hindus also were present at the
time of Muslim marriage, but their names were not elicited. The parents on either side are holding the position
of a rank to influence the bride and the bridegroom for performance of the marriage. The presence of the
parents of either side cannot be said that they are mere spectators and they have not intentionally aided or
abetted the commission of the offence. If the parents of either side and some other relations who have got
knowledge that the first wife is alive and the first marriage is subsisting are present at the second marriage, it
can be said that they intentionally aided and abetted the commission of the offence.
75. Section 107 of the Indian Penal Code defines abetment as follows:
A person abets the doing of thing who - First:- Instigates any person to do that thing; or
Secondly:- Engages with one or more other person or persons in any conspiracy for the doing of that thing; if
an act or illegal omission takes place in pursuance of that conspiracy, and in order to the doing of that thing;
or
Thirdly:- Intentionally aids, by any act or illegal omission, the doing of that thing.
It is well known that an act of abetment may take place in any one of the three ways - (1) instigation; (2)
conspiracy; or(3) intentional aid. Explanation 2 to Section 107 says that an act of abetment may take place
prior to the commission of the offence. In order that Explanation 2 to Section 107 applies, it is necessary to
determine whether an aid was given and whether with that aid, the act or the offence was committed.
Explanation 2 to Section 107 says that whoever either prior to or at the time of the commission of an act, does
anything in order to facilitate the commission of that act, and thereby facilitates the commission thereof, is
said to aid the doing of that act. If the second marriage either under the Hindu or under the Muslim Law has
been held to be proved beyond reasonable doubt, A-3 to A-8 who were present, are liable for the offence. On
B. Chandra Manikyamma, vs B. Sudarsana Rao Alias Saleem ... on 9 September, 1988

facts it has been found that though the two marriages (second Hindu and second Muslim marriages) were
performed, they are not valid marriages in the eye of law and since they are not valid marriages and A-1 and
A-2 themselves are entitled for the benefit of doubt, the question of convicting the abettors under Section 494
read with Section 109 of the Indian Penal Code does not arise. So, the acquittal of A-3 to A-8 by the lower
appellate court is correct.
76. The complainant proved that there is a valid subsisting marriage between her and her husband (A-l). If the
complainant failed to prove that there is no valid first marriage, the accused are not liable for the offence of
bigamy, even though the complainant proved that the second marriage was solemnised according to Hindu
rites. If the second marriage was solemnised according to Hindu rites and proved to be a valid one while the
first wife is alive and the marriage with her is subsisting, then only the court is entitled to declare the second
marriage as void and punish the accused for the offence under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code.

77. For the reasons stated above, the complainant failed to prove that there is a valid marriage according to
Hindu Law between A-1 and A-2.

78. In view of the fact of finding.)hal the second marriages under the Hindu Law and Muslim Law are found
to be not valid, A-1 Sudarsana Rao alias Saleem Mohammed and A-2 Lakshmi alias Laila Banu are not liable
for the offence under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code, Since the main offence against A-1 and A-2 for
contracting a valid second marriage has not been made out, A-3 to A-8, though holding the position of rank
and influence, are not liable for the offence under Section 494 read with Section 109 of the Indian Penal Code.
79. It is unfortunate that the complainant lost the company of her husband and the provisions of law and the
standard of proof that is required for the proof of the marriages as on today for the offence of bigamy, have
not come to her aid, though her husband contracted a second marriage with A-2. A-1 and A-2 are living
together in the house of A-3 to the knowledge of one and all, but they could not be convicted under the
provisions of law as on today. The society as such also was not in a position to take action against A-1 and
A-2, who contracted a second marriage while the first wife was alive with one child. I feel it is high time to
consider the desirability of bringing suitable amendments to make the provisions of law under Section 494 of
the Indian Penal Code and Section 17 of the Hindu Marriage Act, IL)55, effective by taking into consideration
the decisions rendered on that aspect.

80. In the result, the appeal fails and it is accordingly dismissed.

B. Chandra Manikyamma, vs B. Sudarsana Rao Alias Saleem ... on 9 September, 1988

« Last Edit: August 12, 2013, 08:41:38 PM by admin »

 

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