Thursday, June 11, 2009


Please welcome guest blogger Mr. Vijay Pathare, Esq. He practises as an attorney in New York City and is here to impart legal training at a city based legal process outsourcing unit. He has very kindly agreed to my request for a guest post and posted this article stating his views on-


The Mormons say that their religion permits them to have many wives who can also be minors. This can be termed as their Religious Custom . The Sharia, subject to certain restrictions allows a Muslim man to have four wives at a time, and he is also given a sole right to divorce any of his 'wife'. The Hindus according to their Dharma and religious customs were entitled to have as many wives as they wanted, a religious custom now banned in India by constitutionally approved statutes which prohibit more than one existing legally recognized marriage.

The question that arises is, if the second customary wedding is not a legal marriage, then how can there be a bigamy?

The second wife,outside the scope of a valid marriage, can only be a concubine who may or may not have customary rights. The Courts, at best, can give recognition to such customary rights of the concubines, but how can the Courts, who do not recognize second marriage, call the husband bigamous?

Add to this, the concept and grant of legal divorce by the Courts. The pre-requisite of a divorce is a valid marriage. Only a valid marriage can be dissolved by the Court. In short, marriage requires a marriage certificate of sorts, whether issued under a statute or recognized under law. All Hindus carry their personal law with them when they go outside India. Some overseas courts may recognize this personal law. But such Indians certainly do not carry with them the provisions of restrictive

Indian Statutory law limiting Hindus to only one wife. Thus, in such a situation if he tries to wed in United States according to his old traditional religious Hindu custom, can the Court recognize his right to have a second married wife? Why not? If a Mormon can, so can a Hindu!

The only real issue then is, can the second wife get the legal benefits given to a spouse?

Can she file for divorce? Massachusetts has legally accepted two consenting adults for forming a marriage, even if both have the same gender. If they can get the said benefits of a married spouse, why not a Hindu's second wife, outside of India? To complicate this

further, a Hindu in Boston could have multiple same gender marriages (though his personal law may not recognize this!)?

In any case I suggest that the word 'Bigamy' cannot be recognized and have a legal status under the law. Committing Bigamy can never be a crime!

Thank you, Mr. Pathare.


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