This post is written by Arohi Ambade, a second-year law student of Maharashtra National Law University, Nagpur.
Title of the Case: Bhaurao Shankar Lokhande v State of Maharashtra
Citation: AIR 1965 SC 1564
Court: Supreme Court
Date of Judgment: 01-02-1965
Appellant: Bhaurao Shankar Lokhande
Respondents: State of Maharashtra
Brief Facts: The appellant, Bhaurao Shankar Lokhande, was married to the complainant Indubai in 1956. Their marriage was solemnized as per religious rites and customs. During the course time, he married another woman named Kamlabai in February 1962. The complainant then accused the appellant under charges of Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code and accused the appellant’s brother under charges of Section 114 of the Indian Penal Code. Their appeal to the Session Judge was dismissed. Their revision to the High Court also failed. They have preferred this appeal by special leave.
(1) Whether the second marriage was solemnized by appellant valid or not?
(2) Whether the appellant is guilty under charges of Section 494 of IPC?
Judgment: There was the urge to prove whether the second marriage was solemnized by the way of customary rites performed in the second marriage. Customary rites include two ceremonies namely (1) invocation before the sacred fire (2) Saptapadi. Prima facie, the expression ‘whoever…. marries’ must mean ‘whoever marries validly’ or ‘whoever…. marries and whose marriage is a valid one’. Since no customary and religious rites were performed, the second marriage is completely invalid. If the marriage is not a valid marriage, it is no marriage in the eye of law. If not solemnized, the marriage will not satisfy the first condition of Section 17 and therefore, it cannot be declared void. As a consequence, it will not be an offence under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code. Henceforth, the appellant is not guilty under charges of Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code and is acquitted.
(Section 494 of IPC- Punishment for bigamy)