Report No. 227
Foreign Marriage Act 1969
This Act facilitates solemnization of civil marriages in foreign countries between two Indians or an Indian and a foreigner. Monogamy is the rule under this Act as well, the first condition for the solemnization of marriage under its provisions being that "neither party has a spouse living" - Section 4 (a).
If the condition of monogamy and the other conditions mentioned in Section 4 of the Act are met, a pre-existing marriage between two Indians or an Indian and a foreigner solemnized in a foreign country under a local law can be registered under the Foreign Marriage Act, upon which it shall be deemed to have been solemnized under the said Act - Section 17.
The anti-bigamy penal provision of Section 19 of the Foreign Marriage Act, reproduced below, applies to both marriages originally solemnized under its provisions and those solemnized as per a foreign law but later registered under the Foreign Marriage Act:
"(1) Any person whose marriage is solemnized or deemed to have been solemnized under this Act and who, during the subsistence of his marriage, contracts any other marriage in India shall be subject to the penalties provided in sections 494 and 495 of the Indian Penal Code, and the marriage so contracted shall be void.
(2) the provisions of sub-section (1) apply also to any such offence committed by any citizen of India without and beyond India."
The anti-bigamy provisions of the Foreign Marriage Act, like those of the Special Marriage Act 1954, are applicable to all cases governed by it, irrespective of the religion of the parties.