Report No. 227
Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act 1936
Unlike the Christian Marriage Act 1872, the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act 1936 specifically prohibits bigamy and says that Sections 494-495 of the 21Indian Penal Code will be attracted by every case of bigamy in any marriage governed by that Act. Sections 4 and 5 of the Act read as follows:
"(1) No Parsi (weather such Parsi has changed his or her religion or domicile or not) shall contract any marriage under this Act or any other law in the life time of his or her wife or husband, whether a Parsi or not, except after his or her lawful divorce from such wife or husband or after his or her marriage with such wife or husband has lawfully been declared null and void or dissolved; and, if the marriage was contracted with such wife or husband under the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1865, or under this Act, except after a divorce, declaration or dissolution as aforesaid under either of the said Acts.
(2) Every marriage contracted contrary to the provisions of subsection (1) shall be void."
"Every Parsi who during the lifetime of his or her wife or husband, whether a Parsi or not, contracts a marriage without having been lawfully divorced from such wife or husband, or without his or her marriage with such wife or husband having legally been declared null and void or dissolved, shall be subject to the penalties provided in sections 494 and 495 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) for the offence of marrying again during the lifetime of a husband or wife".
The reference to bigamy after change of religion and its prohibition constitute a unique feature of the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act 1936 which has no parallel under any other family-law enactment for the time being in force.