Dual Marriage | Polygamy laws in Nepal

Published Date: 2024-06-25

What is marriage under the laws of Nepal?

In the Nepalese legal context, there are limited instruments for defining marriage. Section 67 to be read with Section 68 of the National Civil Code of Nepal defines marriage as a permanent, inviolable, holy, socio-legal bond that is based on free consent and established to start conjugal and family life between a man and a woman. The said relationship is established when man and woman accept each other as the husband and wife through any occasion, ceremony, formal or other act. The definition of marriage is further elaborated in Section 74 of the said legislation which provides that if a woman proved to have delivered a child by conceiving pregnancy from physical intercourse with a man, marriage between such a man and a woman shall ipso facto be deemed to have been concluded. Having dealt with the civil aspects of marriage, for the purpose of this article it is also important to look into the criminal aspect of the concept of dual marriage. 

What is polygamy/dual marriage?

Polygamy is a generic term that encapsulates two different kinds of marital relationships. The first division is termed polygyny, it is the situation of a marital relationship where one man marries more than one woman. Similarly, the second division is termed polyandry, where a woman marries more than one man. Polygamy prevailed in Nepalese society since time immemorial as a matter of personal choice, social status, and sometimes as social obligations too. However, in today’s time laws related to marriage are strict and confine the concept of marriage within legal limits rather than religious scripts and books. 

Is dual marriage restricted by laws?

Yes, Dual marriage is restricted by laws. While a person is married to another person, he/she cannot marry another person. If he/she does so then the second marriage will be considered illegal. Thus, laws applicable to a majority of Nepalese prohibit the practice of Polygamous marriage and declare such marriage as void. 

What will be the legal punishment, if anyone does a dual marriage?

If any person winds up another marriage or keeps a wife in violation of the law, then he will be liable to bear legal punishments. Section 175 of National Criminal Code 2074 provides that no married man shall, during the continuation of the marital relationship conclude another marriage, similarly, sub-section 2 of the said Section provides that no woman shall conclude marriage with a man knowing that he is already married. In the first and second cases where a man marries another woman during the continuation of the marital relationship, and where a woman marries a man knowing that he is already married, there is the creation of criminal liability of one to five years of imprisonment and a fine of ten thousand to fifty thousand rupees. 

In what conditions dual marriage is allowed?

According to the General, Code states that unless the first spouse is not dissolved and has any incurable contagious venereal disease, is incurable, is insane, is infertile and becomes blind in both eyes, and many more, any male can marry another female. 

Who can file a case?

As per law, the first spouse can file a case against the spouse committing polygamy or dual marriage.

Where should the case be filed?

The case should be filed in the nearest police station through F.I.R. (First Investigation Report). 

What is the time period or limitation for filing the case?

The statute of limitation for such an offense is stipulated as three months from the date of knowledge of the commission of the offence.   

To consult or get legal advice from our expert  Dual Marriage/Polygamy marriage laws in Nepal; Contact us at 977-01-4102849/977-9851059026, Prime Law Associates, Anamnagar, Kathmandu, info@primelawnepal.com, www. primelawnepal.com
This article is for informational purposes only and shall not be construed as legal advice, advertisement, personal communication, solicitation, or inducement of any sort from the firm or any of its members. The firm shall not be liable for consequences arising out of any action undertaken by any person relying on the information provided herein.


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