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Person Involved In Live-In Relation Without Obtaining Divorce From Spouse May Face Bigamy Charge: P&H High Court

[04 November 2021]
The Punjab & Haryana High Court recently observed that if a married person is in live-in-relationship, without obtaining a divorce from his/her spouse, then that may amount to an offence under 494 of the Indian Penal Code (Bigamy). The Bench of Justice Ashok Kumar Verma observed thus while dealing with a plea filed by a woman, along with her partner, who was in a live-in relationship without obtaining a divorce from her husband. Essentially, petitioners (Woman and her partner) approached the Court seeking issuance of directions to respondents No.1 to 3 to protect their life and liberty at the hands of private respondents, submitting that they are in live-in-relationship against the wishes of the private respondents. The Court, perusing the case records, observed that petitioner No.1 (Harpreet Kaur) aged about 23 years is legally wedded wife of respondent No.4 (Gurjant Singh), and without seeking a divorce from her spouse, she is living a lustful and adulterous life with petitioner No.2. In view of this, stressing that such a relationship does not fall within the phrase “live-in relationship” or “relationship” in the nature of marriage, the Court observed thus: “Once petitioner No.1 is a married woman being the wife of respondent No.4-Gurjant Singh, the act of petitioners particularly petitioner No.1 (erroneously written in the order as petitioner number 2) may constitute an offense under Sections 494/495 IPC”.

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