The offences related to marriage are both multi-casuals and multi-dimensional. The increase in the number of offenses related to marriage is because of deep indifferences between the couple and negligence caused due to non accepting them emotionally and physically. This article outlines the offences one by one.
Marriage according to the Hindu law is like a relationship between the husband and wife and out of sixteen sacraments, Hinduism is the most important sacrament in the world. It is believed in Hinduism that once a marriage is tied, it cannot be broken and it is defined under Section 2 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955.
Marriage according to the Muslim law is like a contract between the husband and wife for the purpose like intercourse, raising children and in the interest of the creation of society. Marriage in Muslim law is not considered a sacrament at all since it is a contract between the husband and wife for particular purposes decided before the rituals for the wedding starts.
Marriage is like matrimony or wedlock which is accepted generally and is recognized culturally as the sanction of two people socially as the union in the country. The union in the country helps to establish and provide the rights and duties of the husband and the wife who has accepted to come together as a union or in a marriage relationship not only as husband and wife but also with their respective in-laws and children and with every member present in their respective both the families of husband and wife (in-laws).
Offenses related to marriages are defined under Section 492 to Section 498 of the Indian Penal Code 1860. All the sections related to marriage offenses are either in favour of the women or in the favour of the men except in Section 498 which is the offense against the women related to cruelty. Cruelty is towards the women by the husband defined under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code 1860.
Even though there are a lot of rules, regulations, punishments, and laws against the offenses related to marriage, then also there are millions of cases that go unreported because of the pressure of the society and not acknowledging or accepting the fact that they are facing issues and problems in their marriage which according to the law is considered as an offense in the country in fear or the reluctance of the society in the country.
II. Offences Related to Marriage
- Mock Marriage
- Bigamy Marriage
- Fraud Marriage
- Criminal Elopement
- Cruelty by Husband or relatives of the husband
1. Mock Marriage
Mock marriage is defined under Section 493 of the Indian Penal Code 1860. It says that if a man deceives a woman for intercourse (canal) and marries her on the pretext of intercourse only will be punishable in the court.
According to the Indian Penal Code 1860, the punishment for mock marriage would be a ten-year jail term or imprisonment with some amount of fine too for the punishment for Mock Marriages. If a man tries to deceive a woman for canal intercourse will be considered as Unlawful Marriage.
Mock Marriages are non-cognizable and non-bailable offenses.
- Non-cognizable offenses are the offenses for not serious offenses.
- Non-Bailable offenses are the offenses in which grant of bail is not a matter of right.
2. Bigamy Marriage
Bigamy Marriage is defined under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code 1860. It says that if a person marries another person even though the spouses are alive and healthy. Punishment included for Bigamy Marriage will be imprisonment extending to seven years and it may include some amount of fine too.
Exceptions for Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code includes:
- If the marriage is declared void:
By holding competent jurisdiction
- If the previous spouse is missing continuously for seven years:
Have no idea whether the spouse is alive or dead
Before the second marriage, the facts of the first spouse are disclosed to the second spouse before the marriage.
Section 495 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 includes that concealment of first marriage should be known to the second spouse before the marriage. Ingredients included for Section 495 of the Indian Penal Code 1860:
- Previous marriage existence
- Validity of second marriage
- Second marriage will be considered void if the first marriage’s spouse is alive
- Non – Disclosure of first marriage
3. Fraud Marriage
Fraud Marriage is defined under Section 496 of the Indian Penal Code 1860. Fraud marriage includes marriage when someone marries dishonestly and with fraudulent intention.
When people get married knowingly that their marriage is not concerning law will be considered as a fraud marriage. The punishment for the fraud marriage will include imprisonment which will include seven years and some amount of fine is also included in a fraud marriage.
Adultery is defined under Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code 1860. Adultery is a kind of offense related to marriage.
Adultery is when one of the spouses or both spouses has sexual intercourse with other people who have not involved in their marriage consent of another person, if a person has sexual intercourse without the consent of the woman, it will be called rape and not adultery according to the Indian Penal Code 1860.
The punishment for adultery will include imprisonment extended to five years and it may or may not involve some amount of fine as the punishment for adultery according to the Indian Penal Code 1860.
Adultery has a very good and strong ground for divorce.
Essential Ingredients for Adultery:
- Sexual intercourse between the married spouse and not with his/married spouse.
- One of the people involved in sexual intercourse should be married to another person.
- Sexual Intercourse should have consent from both the people committing the offense of Adultery.
- Adultery should not constitute rape.
- Sexual Intercourse is done by the wife, it should be at the connivance of the husband.
5. Criminal Elopement
Criminal Elopement is defined under Section 498 of the Indian Penal Code 1860. Criminal Elopement says that enticing the married women or detaining the married women with the intention of the criminal mind.
If a man entices a woman knowing that she is not his wife or anyone he is related to intending to have sexual intercourse without her consent is a punishable offense. Punishment for the Criminal Elopement includes imprisonment which may include ten years and it may or may not include the amount of fine as a punishment for the Criminal Elopement according to the Indian Penal Code 1860.
Essential Ingredients for Criminal Elopement includes:
- Enticing the woman
- Taking Away the woman
- The woman he is enticing or taking away from her should be married to another man.
- Enticing or taking away the woman from the control of the husband.
- Has the intention for the intercourse which is forbidden by the law, rules and the customs.
- Concealing the knowledge to the woman
- The intention of deceiving the woman.
Alamgir v. State of Bihar 
- At the same time when the wife was living with her husband, another man goes with her knowing that she is another man’s wife.
- The man who is enticing the woman and taking her away had the intention to take control over the husband.
- The man who is enticing the woman and taking her away had the intention to deprive the husband.
- The man who is enticing the woman and taking her away also had the intention to have an illicit relationship with her.
Hence it is considered an offense and is punishable according to the Indian Penal Code 1860.
6. Cruelty by Husband or the Relatives of the Husband
Cruelty by the husband or the relatives of the husband is defined under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code 1860. Cruelty says that when a husband or the relatives of the husband treat women with cruelty is a punishable offense.
The punishment for the cruelty by the husband or the relatives of the husband includes imprisonment which will extend till three years and may or may not include the amount of fine with the imprisonment term according to the Indian Penal Code 1860.
- Any conduct by the husband or the relatives of the husband driving the woman to commit suicide.
- Causing a woman’s grave injury or danger because of her husband’s or the relatives of the husband’s conduct.
- Harassing the woman
- Unlawfully demanding the woman which she can’t fulfil.
Section 498A also includes Matrimonial Cruelty which is the dowry death which is the most common death in a country like India.
Inder Raj Malik v. Sunita Malik
- In this case, the word “cruelty” was defined.
- Cruelty is when a woman is harassed by her husband and the relatives of the husband.
- Cruelty can include coercion, undue influence, and demanding unlawfully.
Reema Aggrawal v. Anupam
- The husband was married for the second time and was harassed by her husband.
- The first wife was alive while the husband was getting married and it was known to both the husband and his second wife.
- The wife will not have a right to file a complaint against Section 498A since the marriage will not be considered valid in the eyes of the law.
Matrimonial offenses are both multi-casuals and multi-dimensional. Multi-causal in nature is like more than one cause for offenses related to marriage and Multi-Dimensional is like having more than one crime for the offenses related to marriage. We cannot say that the offenses related to marriage or the crimes related to marriage have only one path, it has a lot of offenses related to one offense which makes them leading towards a crime that will be considered as a punishable offense.
The increment of offenses related to marriage or the matrimonial offenses is because of deep indifferences between the couple and negligence caused due to non accepting them emotionally and physically.
Among all the offenses related to marriage like mock marriage, bigamy marriage, fraud marriage, adultery, criminal elopement, and cruelty by husband or the cruelly by husband’s relatives, cruelty is the most common offense related to the marriage.
The provisions which are dealing with the matrimonial felonies which are stated and explained above respectively should have sufficient proof to support their arguments, statements, and allegations in the court and their minimum requirements should meet for the accused’s offense to be framed.
The use of the offenses related to marriage which is stated by the Indian Penal Code, 1860 has a very less optimal usage in India. There is not much use of laws stated by the Indian Penal Code 1860, because the laws are not clearly stated and a lot of people in India do not know and they are not aware of the rights given to them if they are experiencing offenses in their marriage which may or may not constitute a crime.
The rights given to people who are facing issues in their marriages which are leading to offenses and offenses leading to the crime which is punishable in the eyes of law has to consider a lot of things that are around them, the most important example for considering after filing cases against the offenses and passing judgments for respective cases is children.
- Indian Penal Code 1860, Batuk Lal
- Criminal Law, PSA Pillai
- The Indian Penal Code 1860, KD Kaur
- Jibin Mathew George, Tushar Bhardwaj, Siddhartha Srivasatava, A Critical Overview Of Offences Against Women Under The Indian Penal Code, Available Here
- Monika S., Offences related to marriage (sec 493 to 498A), Available Here
- Offences Relating to Marriage Relevant Provisions From Indian Penal Code, 1860, Available Here
 Alamgir v. State of Bihar AIR 1969 SC 436
 Inder Raj Malik v. Sunita Malik 1896
 Reema Aggrawal v. Anupam AIR 2004 SC 1418