‘No concept of bigamy in Hindu religion; Second wife not entitled to child support in presence of first wife: Gauhati High Court

The Gauhati High Court observed that in the Hindu religion, there is no concept of Bigamy and hence, a second wife is not entitled to a family pension in the existence of the first wife.

The bench of Judge Sanjay Kumar Medhi thus observed in a case in which the applicant had applied to the court for a family pension claiming to be the wife of a certain Biren Deka.

She argued that her husband worked in the irrigation department as a handyman and died in August 2016. Therefore, she is entitled to a family pension. She argued in court that she had three children.

On the other hand, the Claimant’s claim had been contested by the Respondents, including Respondent no. 6 by filing an affidavit. Respondent #6, maintained that she is the first lady of the deceased employee and, in accordance with the law, she is entitled to a family pension.

This position has also been endorsed by the Standing Counsel, Irrigation Department as well as A. Hassan, the Standing Counsel, AG, Assam.

After hearing the parties and after reading the records, the Court noted that the parties are Hindus by religion and according to the Hindu Marriage Act there is no concept of bigamy but the same is an offense under the Indian Penal Code and also grounds for divorce.

The Court also noted that the children (born of a second wife) are also adults and therefore, although some relief could have been granted to the children if they were minors, this situation does not exist either.

With this in mind, the Court observed that it had no choice but to dismiss the petition insofar as a second wife is not entitled to family pension due to the existence of the first wife in this case, the facts of which are admitted and the parties are Hindus by religion.