There was a dispute between wife and husband on the matrimonial status of wife at the time of second marriage. The matter was heard by the Principal Judge, family court and after hearing the case the court decided the case on merit and held that there was no subsisting marriage of wife, when the second marriage is consolidated. Thus there is no offence of bigamy committed by wife.
The husband filed a complaint against his wife under section 494 and section 495 of the Indian penal code. Section 494 deals with the offence of bigamy i.e. spouse consolidated second marriage during the lifetime of the spouse of first marriage.
Section 495 concealment of fact of prior marriage from person with who second marriage consolidated.
The wife against the complaint approached Gauhati high court for seeking quashing of the complaint. But Gauhati high court without taking into account verdict of family court allowed criminal proceeding under section 494 and 495 of IPC.
Against this order of high court wife as appellant approached apex court. The bench consists of justice D Y Chhandrachud and Justice Bela Trivedi heard the appeal.
The court observed that under section 7 of family court act, the family court have power to determine matrimonial status of person. Family court is enjoying status of district high court. Under chapter 9 of CRPC the power of 1st class magistrate devolved on family court for taking evidence in case.
The subject matter of case and parties of dispute are same before family court. The principal judge of family court conclusive finding is not evidentiary material and subject of trial.
The apex court held that the high court decision is wrong and it’s abuse of process. Therefore the complaint must be quashed.