Proceedings in offence of bigamy cannot be obliterated on grounds of delay: Karnataka HC

The Karnataka High Court has refused a petition seeking to quash the case of bigamy filed against a 76-year-old man who admitted that he is still married to three women

Karnataka High Court
Karnataka High Court
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PTI

The Karnataka High Court has refused a petition seeking to quash the case of bigamy filed against a 76-year-old man who admitted that he is still married to three women.

The HC said his admission makes it a "continuing offence".

"In the teeth of the admitted facts of the petitioner marrying thrice and its subsistence even as on day, the plea of delay in registration of the crime would pale into insignificance, as bigamy in the case at hand is a continuing offence," it said.

Anand C alias Anku Gowda's first wife, Chandramma, had filed the case of bigamy and abetment against him, his third wife Varalakshmi, 49, and four of his close friends and relatives.

Anand had married Chandramma in 1968. He married her sister Savitramma in 1972. Anand claimed Chandramma had consented to the second marriage.

Anand married Varalakshmi in 1993 and claimed before the HC that both his first two wives consented to the third marriage.

Chandramma's complaint of bigamy was filed in 2018. She alleged that Anand had suppressed the fact of his earlier marriages while marrying Varalakshmi.

Anand, his third wife and other accused challenged it in the High Court on the ground that the complaint was filed nearly 25 years after the wedding. The second contention was that the third marriage had the consent of his other two wives.

The septuagenarian claimed that the bigamy case was filed after a property dispute involving his three wives. He had gifted a property to his third wife which was dissented by the other two leading to the bigamy case being filed. The children from the first wife have also initiated suits for partition against Anand.

Justice M Nagaprasanna, who heard Anand's petition, held in his May 25 judgement that the case against Anand and his third wife cannot be quashed as they were aware of the preceding marriages.

However the case against Anand's friends for abetting bigamy was quashed.

"Other family members or friends of 1st petitioner (Anand) cannot be hauled into these proceedings unless there are instances to demonstrate that they were responsible for the commission of second marriage or even the third marriage," the HC said.

"The act of bigamy generally is a triangle involving the husband, wife and second wife. This is a peculiar case where it is a quadrangle. Therefore, the first petitioner, second petitioner and the complainant will have to resolve the issue amongst themselves," the HC said absolving the other accused.

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