Offences Relating To Marriage (Indian Penal Code 1860, Section 493 to
Chapter XX of IPC deals with offences relating to marriage. All these offences
are within the institution of marriage. chapter XX-A containing only one section
(s.498A) dealing with cruelty to a woman by her husband or relatives to coerce
her and her parents to meet material greed of dowry was added to the IPC by
criminal law (Second amendment act,1983).
Following are main offences under this chapter:
- Mock or invalid marriage (section 493 and 496).
- Bigamy (section 494 and 495).
- (Adultery (section 497)
- Criminal elopement- seduction (section498)
- Cruelty by husband or relatives of husband (section 498A)
Section 493- cohabitation caused by man deceitfully inducing a belief of lawful
Every man who by deceit causes any woman who is not lawfully married
to him to believe that she is lawfully married to him and to cohabit or have
sexual intercourse with him in that belief shall be punished with imprisonment
of either description for term which may extend to ten years and shall also be
liable to fine. It is non-cognizable and non-bailable.
Section 496- Marriage ceremony fraudulently gone through without lawful
Whoever dishonestly or with fraudulent intention goes through the ceremony
of being married knowing that he is not thereby lawfully married shall be
punished with imprisonment for term which may extend to seven years and shall
also be liable for fine. It is non-cognizable and bailable.
In both the sections woman is cheated by the man into believing that
she is legally married to him, but men is fully aware that the same is not true.
Section 494- Marrying again during lifetime of husband or wife (Bigamy)
Whoever having husband or life living marries in any case in
which such marriage is void by reason of its taking during the life of such
husband or wife. Shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for
term which may extend to seven years and shall be liable for fine.
This section does not extend to any person whose marriage with such
husband or wife has been declared void by court of competent jurisdiction. Any
person who contracts marriage during the life of former husband or wife, if such
husband or while at the time of subsequent marriage shall been continually
absent from such person for seven years and shall not been heard by such person
as being alive within that time provided the person contracting such subsequent
marriage takes place, inform the person with whom such marriage is contracted of
the real state of facts so far as the same are within his or her knowledge.
Section 495- Same offences with concealment of former marriage from person with
whom subsequent marriage is contracted.
The essential ingredients are:
- Existence of a previous marriage.
- Second marriage to be valid.
- Second marriage to be void by reason of first husband or wife
- Non-disclosure of first marriage.
Whoever commits the offence defined in last preceding section having
concealed from the person with whom the subsequent marriage is contracted, the
fact of the former marriage shall be punished with imprisonment of either
description for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to
Pashaura Singh v state of Punjab
, AIR 2010 SC 922
In the above case it was held that, the first marriage should be
substituting at the time of second marriage and should be validly contracted
one. If the first marriage is not a valid marriage, the second marriage does not
amount to bigamy.
Section 497- Adultery
Adultery is sexual intercourse between a married person and
someone other than the lawful spouse. Under law adultery is defined as a
consensual physical correlation between two individuals who are not married to
each other. Adultery is also known as infidelity or extra-marital affair which
is certainly a moral crime and is been considered as a sin by almost all
According to section 497 – whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is
and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be wife of another man, without
the consent connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the
offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery, and shall be punished
with imprisonment or either description for a term which may extend to five
years, or with fine, or with both. In such a case wife shall not be punishable
as an abettor.
The essential ingredients are:
- Sexual intercourse between married woman and man who is not her
- Woman must be married – sexual intercourse by a man, who is the
wife of another man.
- Sexual intercourse must take place with woman consent .i.e.:-it
must not constitute rape.
- Sexual intercourse with married woman must take place without
the consent or connivance of her husband.
Section 498 – Enticing or taking away or detaining with criminal intent a
Whoever takes or entices away any woman who is and whom he knocks or
has a 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 finem or with both.
Essential ingredients are:
Alamgir v state of Bihar
- Takes or entices away.
- Woman to be a married woman.
- The person enticing or taking away the married woman should
have knowledge that she is the wife of another man.
- Taken from control of husband or person having care of her
on behalf of her husband.
- Intention to have illicit intercourse.
- Conceals or detains any such woman.
, AIR 1969 SC 436
It was observed that whilst the wife is living with the husband, man
knowingly goes away with her in such a way as to deprive the husband of his
control over her, with the intent to have illicit intercourse, then it
constitutes an offence within the section.
Section 498A – Cruelty by husband or relatives of husband.
Whoever being husband or relative of husband of a woman,
subject such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for term which
may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.
Explanation: for purpose of this section cruelty means:
- Any wilful conduct which is of such nature as is likely to drive the
woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or
health (whether physical or mental) of the woman; or
- harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing
her or any person related to her to meet any unlawfully demand for any
property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any
person related to her to meet such demand.
For safeguarding the interest of a woman against cruelty the Indian Penal Code,
1860 was amended in 1983 and S.498Aand S.304B was inserted which deals with
“Matrimonial Cruelty” to a women by husband and his relatives and dowry death
respectively. Section 113B was added to Indian Evidence Act, 1872, wherein it as
provide that if it was shown that soon before the death of the woman she was
subjected to cruelty or harassment by person in connection with demand for
dowry, then it shall be presumed that such person who harassed the woman had
caused the death of woman.
Inder Raj Malik v. Sunita Malik
, 1896 It was held that word “cruelty” is
defined in explanation which inter alia says that harassment of a women with a
view to coerce her or any related persons to meet any lawful demand for any
property or any valuable security is cruelty.
Reema Aggarwal v. Anupam
AIR 2004 SC 1418
It was argued that 'husband' of 'second wife' who marries her during the
subsistence of his earlier legal marriage, is not husband
within the meaning
of section 498A and the second wife
, therefore, cannot invoke section498A for
cruelty and harassment caused to her by him or his relatives. The appellant, Reema Aggarwal, who was harassed by her husband and his relatives for not
bringing sufficient dowry, consumed poisonous substance .She admitted that she
married him during lifetime of his first wife. Based on this fact her husband
with others, was charged-sheeted under sections 307 and 498A.
- Criminal law, PSA Pillai.
- Kenny's outline of criminal law.
Authentication No: JL0201184449222-19-720