Marriage Offence in Nepal: Bigamy Law in Nepal

Marriage is a legal and formal union between two people known as spouses. Marriage is an inviolable, holy, social and legal bond which is based on free consent and established to start conjugal and family life between a man and a woman. Marriage conducted by any method such as social religious traditional marriage, court marriage, marriage conducted in local office is considered valid.

Offences Related to marriage and bigamy in Nepal are considered as criminal and civil offence which occurs in daily basis and this article covers marriage related offenses such as marriage without consent, misrepresentation, child marriage, prohibited degree of marriage, dowry and bigamy in Nepal and Bigamy law of Nepal with their penalties and other legal effects.

Existing laws to resolve offense relate to marriage and bigamy  disputes in Nepal are as follows:

  1. Muluki Civil Code, 2074 deals with provisions relating to marriage

  2. Muluki Criminal Code, 2074 deals with offences relating to marriage in Nepal.

Offences Related to Marriage in Nepal:

Offences Relating to Marriage in Nepal is addressed by Muluki Criminal Code, and Civil Code 2074 are as follows:

  1. Marriage without consent:
    Forceful marriage without the mutual consent of both spouse is prohibited by law of Nepal.
       a. Legal Effect:
            Marriage concluded without the consent shall be void
       b. Legal penalties or punishment:
            Person committing an offence shall be liable to a sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years and          a  fine not exceeding twenty thousand rupees.

2. Marriage in prohibited degree of relationship:
         Marriage should not be concluded within the prohibited degree (within blood relationship) mentioned by law. If does it is              considered as offense.
Exception: marriage concluded within the prohibited degree of relationship do not get void.

        a. Legal effect:
          Marriage concluded in prohibited degree of relationship shall be initially gets void/cancelation
       b. Legal penalties or punishment:

1.sexual intercourse between the natural mother and her natural son or between the natural father and his natural daughterA sentence of imprisonment for life
2.sexual intercourse between the step-mother and her step-son, between the step father and his step daughter, between the full blood elder sister and brother, between full blood elder brother and sister, between father-in-law and daughter-in-law within the same branch, between grand-father and grand-daughter or great-grand-daughter within the same branch, between elder brother-in-law and sister-in-law within the same branch or between younger brother-in-law and sister-in-law within the same branchA sentence of imprisonment for a term of four years to ten yearsand a fine of forty thousand rupees to one hundred thousand rupees


sexual intercourse between grand-mother and her grand-son or great-grand-son within the three generations of the same branch, between father’s elder brother or uncle and niece within the same branch, between nephew and great mother (wife of own father’s brother) or aunty within the same branch, between father-in-law and brother’s daughter-in-law within the same branch, between uterine maternal uncle and niece or nephew and maternal aunty, between mother’s elder sister or younger  sister and nephew or between mother-in-law (one’s wife side) and son-in-law

A sentence of imprisonment for a term of three to six yearsfine of thirty thousand to sixty thousand rupees
4.sexual intercourse between persons in other relationship within seven generations of one’s own clanA sentence of imprisonment for a term of one year to three yearsA fine of ten thousand to thirty thousand rupees

Table: Penalties for marriage within prohibited degree

3. Child marriage:
What is Child marriage?
Marriage below the age of 20 years shall be taken as child marriage.

  a. Legal effect:
        Child Marriage becomes initially void.

   b. Legal penalties:
        Person committing an offence shall be liable to a sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years and a              fine not exceeding thirty thousand rupees.

4. Marriage by misrepresentation:
      Marriage conducted by misrepresentation with impotent having no sex organs, uncurable diseases, deaf, unsound mind,                  already married, pregnant, will be punishable as civil offences under civil code 2074.

      a. Legal effects:
          Such marriage is annulled and compensation for parties involved in such marriage.

       b. Legal penalties or punishment:

Victim can claim a reasonable compensation from the person who concludes or arrange   to conclude marriage by                                misrepresentation.

Exception in marriage by misrepresentation:
Marriage shall be void only with the consent of the woman, if she is pregnant or has delivered a baby as consequence of such marriage.

5. Dowry/transaction of property in marriage:

What is dowry?
Transaction or demand of property before and after marriage by bridegroom’s side is considered as dowry related crime. i.e., matrimonial offence.

   a. Legal Effect:
        Rejection and cancelation for marriage.

    b. Legal Penalties:





1.Asking for dowry/ movable or immovable property from bride side before marriageImprisonment for a term not exceeding three years Or fine not exceeding thirty thousand rupeesOr both


Asking for dowry, movable or immovable property from bride side after marriageImprisonment for a term not exceeding five yearsOr fine not exceeding fifty thousand rupeesOr both

Table: Penalties for Dowry crime


Note: Such property shall be returned to the concerned person.

6. Bigamy law in Nepal:

 What is bigamy?(Bahubiva) 
Bigamy is defined as formally entering into one marriage while the previous is not dissolved/terminated. Second marriage is void. If any spouse does marry another in-case of his/her already existing marriage than it is called bigamy punishable as criminal offences under offence related to marriage in Nepal.

Bigamy law in Nepal
Fig: Conditions for Bigamy

Status of bigamy in Nepal?
Bigamy or the practice of having more than one spouse at time is considered illegal and considered crime punishable under criminal law of Nepal.
Legal effects of bigamy in Nepal:
Bigamy shall be declared void or invalid initially. However, child born from such marriage will get all legal rights form both father and mother.
Punishment for bigamy offences:
Person committing an offence shall be liable to a sentence of imprisonment for a term of one year to five years and a fine of ten thousand to fifty thousand rupees.

How to prove bigamy?
To prove bigamy, marriage registration document and other circumstantial evidences is necessary to shows man has remarried during the existence of his first marriage.
Prove your first marriage, collect documents where second spouse name has been written. First wife or prosecutor must prove the bigamy with direct evidences which demonstrates second marriage was conducted, during the existence of first one.
If woman gets pregnant during live-in together relation and child is born from their physical relation, it is consider as marriage as per the law, such law created relation gets annulled if it’s proved spouse was already married but child born from such relation will get all lawful rights.

Legal defense to a bigamy charge:
In case second marriage is not proved by any kind of document and circumstantial evidences. Bigamy charge cannot be proved if spouse is already judicially separated, living separately after their property division for more than 3-5 years, in case it is presumed former spouse is passed away or dead.
Second marriage is not easily proved if it’s not registered in the local bodies, and haven’t mentioned each other spouse name in any formal documents. So in many cases there lacks the evidences of marriage registration which is a best defense for bigamy cases.
Time limitation for filing offences relating to marriage in Nepal:
Complaint of matrimonial offences should be filed within three months from the date of knowledge of the commission of the offence.

Note 1: There shall be no restriction and harm in the lawful rights of a child already born from a marriage, if the marriage becomes void.

 Note 2: Procedure for filing a case for offences relating to marriage in Nepal is same as procedure for criminal cases which can be viewed in detail in


Disclaimer: All contains available here are for general information purposes. A proper legal solution always depends on your particular circumstances thus seek advice from an attorney who can provide assurances of the information contained herein and interpretation of it.  All liability with respect to actions taken on the basis of the site’s information is hereby expressly disclaimed. 


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