INTRODUCTION: Matrimony or wedlock is a culturally recognized social sanction of connection between two persons, according to a widely accepted definition of marriage. This union helps create rights and obligations between two people who are getting married, as well as their children and in-laws.
The sacred institution of marriage, on the other hand, has existed for generations and has swallowed countless perverted versions of the same. To correct them and, as a result, avoid the loss of any innocent life. To correct them and, as a result, avoid the loss of any innocent life. Numerous courts have introduced various statutes and precedents, with the most illuminating ones coming from the Hon’ble Apex Court. Adultery, desertion, and cruelty, to name a few, are all considered marital offences.
Despite several protective measures imposed by the legislature and efforts done by society’s law and order keepers, the number of matrimonial offences continues to rise steadily. The number of women who have been victims of these legal breaches climbs by the day.
Marriage-related offences are dealt with in sections 493 to 498 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. (IPC). These laws deal with the many aspects of marriage, as well as the offences that emerge from them. The most well-known of them is the Cruelty Law, often known as Section 498-A. This law aims to provide significant protection to female victims of cruelty and domestic violence, together with the Domestic Abuse Act of 2005. With the number of such cases constantly rising, it was established that such legislation was necessary to ensure that each citizen’s Fundamental Right to Life and Dignity, as guaranteed by the Indian Constitution, was protected. Cruelty was also cited as a significant reason for a marriage’s dissolution.
Mock marriages (Section 493), bigamy (Section 494 and 495), fraud marriage (Section 496), adultery (Section 497), and criminal elopement (Section 498) are all covered in Chapter XX.
1.) Cohabitation after deceitfully inducing a belief of marriage– Section 493 is for any man who deceives a lady into having sexual intercourse with him under the guise of being married to him. The Indian Penal Code punishes this with a ten-year prison sentence and a fine. For a long period, this section has been the subject of fierce dispute among legislators.
2.) Remarrying throughout the life of a husband or wife– Bigamy is defined as marrying again within the spouse’s lifetime (read with Section 50 of the Evidence Act and Section 198 (1)(c) of the CrPC).
The section does, however, provide for exceptions to Section 494 of the IPC, namely:
(a) If the following has been used to declare the first marriage null and void:
-by a court, -holding competent jurisdiction
(b) If the prior spouse has been missing for seven years and has not been heard from, provided that the facts are told to the person with whom the second marriage is contracted.
3.) Performing a wedding ceremony without a valid, legitimate marriage– Anyone who goes through the wedding ceremony dishonestly, clubbed with a false motive, although knowing that he is not officially married, faces a jail term of up to seven years, as well as a fine under Section 496.
4.) Adultery– Previously, Section 497 allowed for a five-year prison sentence, with or without a fine, for a person who had sexual intercourse with another man’s wife without that man’s agreement or connivance. If it had not been rape, the man would have been charged with adultery. Meanwhile, the wife would not be held liable as an abettor in such a case.
It is worth noting that while this law has now been decriminalised, it still serves as a good basis for divorce.
5.) Luring a married woman into having extramarital affairs– Anyone who takes, conceals, detains, or entices away any woman who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe is the wife of any other man, with the intent that she may have illicit intercourse with any person, faces a two-year prison sentence, with or without a fine, under Section 498 of the Indian Penal Code.
At the time of the marriage, there must be deception and fraudulent purpose.
The following are the essential components of Sections 493 and 496:
> The accused had to have lied to the woman.
> As a result, she is persuaded to believe that she is legally married to him, despite the fact that she is not.
CONCLUSION: The nature of matrimonial offences is multi-causal and multi-dimensional. It is difficult to engage them fairly if you use a straitjacket attitude. It is not limited by culture or social level. There are, nevertheless, certain underlying common elements. Indifference and negligence are at the basis of the growth in matrimonial offences against women, which is largely the outcome of popular acceptance of men’s dominance over women, as seen by the gender-specific nature of these offences.
Bigamy, adultery, and unlawful elopement are only a few examples of the numerous forms of crimes perpetrated against women today, with cruelty being the most widespread. Courts have expanded the definition’s reach throughout time to include a wide range of situations. The laws governing matrimonial offences are constructed in such a way that the accused is judged guilty if certain minimum requirements are met.
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