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Case Analysis On Alamgir v/s State Of Bihar, AIR 1959 SC 436

The complainant's wife Mrs.Rahmita was missing from his house. The complainant Mr.Saklu Mian searched for her and was unable to find her whereabouts and complained police head quarters when he was informed by Shakoor Mian that he had seen Mrs.Rahmatia at his brothers house (appellants) and filed a case.

When the complainant went to his brothers house and asked one of the appellant Alamgir to let his wife go, the appellant said that he has married the complainants wife and another apellant who is the another brother of complainant has threatened him and asked to go away. The prosecution has filed the case against the complaints brother under section 498 of Indian Penal Code for detaining his wife with an intention to have an illicit relation with her.

The appellants pleaded that Rahmita was not validly married to Saklu Main and tired of living with them. They also stated that they did not detain her, she came voluntarily to stay with him. The court found the appellants guilty and convicted them and sentenced with simple imprisonment of two months.

The sessions judge has confirmed the conviction but reduced the fine to 50 rupees each on appeal to the sessions court. The appellants filed for the revision of the judgement in the Patna High Court. The judge has confirmed the order of conviction and enhanced the sentence of six months rigorous imprisonment and also rejected the application of appeal to the High Court. The appellants then applied for a special leave to appeal to this court.

  • Whether the sentenced given by the High Court of Bihar under section 498 of Indian Penal Code is fair and just for both the appellants.
  • Whether the wife was detained by the appellant?
  • The counsel for appellants has contended that Rahmita was not validly married to to Saklu, she was dissatisfied with him and voluntarily left the house and came to appellants house to stay with them out of her free will and therefore it cannot be said that they have detained her under section 498 of IPC.
  • They also stated that according to them the word "detain" in section 498 means detention against free will i.e., unwilling to stay and compelled to stay with him against her free will and desire. In this current case, the woman came to their house out of her will and contended that they did not detain her.

  • Section 498 of IPC reads as:
    Whoever takes or entices away any woman who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of any other man, from that man, or from any person having the care of her on behalf of that man, with intent that she may have illicit intercourse with any person, or conceals or detains with that intent any such woman, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
  • So in order to apply this section, three ingredients needs to be satisfied. They are:
    1. the offender must entice away or conceal away or detain the wife of another person from another person
    2. he must know that the woman is the wife of another person.
    3. the enticing, taking or concealing or detaining the wife from another person must be with the intent to have an illicit relationship with her.
  • It was stated that in this case, the intention to have an illicit intercourse is not proved and the presence of first two ingredients is not enough to charge the appellant under section 498. it also stated that only if the intention is proved then it becomes necessary to consider the remaining ingredients to be proved or not.
  • The court held that the word detain may mean the detention of a person against his or her will but in the context of this case, the dictionary meaning cannot be used as section 498 aims to protect the rights of the husband against anyone interfering by depriving him of the company of his wife.
  • In the light of this object, the word detain must mean keeping a woman without the permission of her husband and the content of women is meaningless and unnecessary in this case.
  • Therefore, the contention of the appellant cannot be accepted and the appeal of appellant no 1 is dismissed and the sentenced ordered to appellant 2 was set aside.

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