The Supreme Court, on Monday, acquitted a 65 year old man from Kerala accused of 'bigamy' after recording the compromise arrived between him and his 'first' wife.
His 'first' wife, who married him in the year 1993, had filed the complaint alleging that, in 1994, he married another woman and started residing with her after abandoning her and their four children. In the year 2000, the Trial Court convicted the man under Section 494 of Indian Penal Code and sentenced him to undergo imprisonment of one year.
The revision petition he had filed before the High court in the year 2003 was disposed only last year. The High Court took note of the birth certificate of the son born to him to his second wife, to hold that the second marriage is proved. The high court, while affirming the conviction, had observed: "The four children born in the wedlock have now grown up, and the first child must be now aged about 25 years. A reconciliation and reunion is not possible at all. It appears that the revision petitioner is now happy with the second wife and children. Anyway, the wrong or the offence committed by him cannot be condoned. He went for a second marriage without getting the first marriage dissolved. He must get some sentence for what he did."
Reducing the sentence to one month imprisonment, the Justice P Ubaid had said: "Still I feel that a harsh sentence may not be justifiable in the present circumstances. He must be now aged about 65 years. I feel that a nominal jail sentence for a month, and a direction to pay adequate amount of compensation to the complainant will do justice to both sides. The complainant has been residing separately from the accused for years, and one can imagine the sufferings undergone by her to look after the children; four in number. Let her be paid adequate compensation."
He filed appeal before the Apex Court. During the pendency of the appeal, he arrived at a compromise with his first wife. The wife filed an affidavit before the Court that they have settled the matter. The police report also stated that they have settled the matter and are living together with their children.
Then the bench comprising of Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari recorded the compromise and set aside the sentence of imprisonment and acquitted him. Thus the legal battle spanning about two decades between the husband and the wife ended with a truce.