Indian lawyer charged with bigamy

marriage

An advocate from Punjab in northern India has been arrested on suspicion of bigamy.

Advocates in India combine the roles of solicitor and barrister in the United Kingdom.

The suspected lawyer comes from the small town of Kular, 42 miles northwest of Ludhiana, the largest city in Punjab state. He married a woman from Baddowal on the outskirts of Ludhiana in 2009 and they went on to have a daughter, who is now five. But the relationship began to deteriorate and the wife claimed that he had demanded dowry from her family, The Times of India reports. The payment of cash or goods to the groom’s family by that of the bride has been illegal in India for decades but the practice is still widespread.

In 2015 the advocate for filed for divorce but the process had not been completed when the wife reportedly heard that he had made plans to marry a local woman at a local gurdwara (Sikh temple). She reported him to the Police and then accompanied officers to the wedding venue.

According to a Police statement, he was arrested while relaxing at his aunt’s home following the ceremony. The charges included not only bigamy (“second marriage”) but also “criminal intimidation” and “criminal conspiracy”.

He has since been released on bail and denied the allegations, insisting that “the charge of second marriage against me is wrong” and that “the complainant is trying to defame me.”

Polygamy has been illegal in India since 1956, but there are two exceptions: all Indian Muslims, who are allowed up to four wives, and Hindus living in the small western state of Goa.

Photo of Ludhiana, Punjab, India, by via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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