Giri Leo
Asked March 17, 2017

Scope of section 496

  • 1 Answer
  • 1592 Views

I got married on 26/03/2016,with unmarried girl 34 yrs from same city,caste,Hindu religion,that was arranged & dowry-less marriage. After marriage,my wife never stayed at my home for one single day (24 hours),& no physical relationship was established with her. On 06/04/2016 She went to her work place (Kerala state) from her parents home,without informing me & my family and no phone calls between us. Directly she came after 70 days & filed false (498A,DP Act,506) against me & my family members. Now she is demanding 30 lakhs to withdraw false case. Her real intention is to make easy money on the name of marriage by filing false case,I am victim of show marriage / fraudulent intention marriage / mock marriage,I made a police compliant but no action was taken. Now my query is about IPC Section 496 related to fraudulent intention marriage / mock marriage / show marriage,a man & a women may be guilty under 496?,or punishes only a man under 496?

Answer 1

Dear Sir/madam,

Our Sympathies are with you, but unfortunately the law in India does not punish a woman for doing such an act against an innocent man. It is by default presumed to be the mistake of a man and so is the gender bias in the legal provision of Section 496 of the Indian Penal Code 1860.

If we go by the language and the intention of the framers of this legislation – the provision of section 496 talks about punishing the male rather than the female. Section 496 – Marriage ceremony fraudulently gone through without lawful marriage. It says, “Whoever, dishonestly or with a fraudulent intention, goes through the ceremony of being married, knowing that he is not thereby lawfully married, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine”.

The key characteristic of section 496 is that the accused husband should have kept the wife in a make belief that the marriage that took place between them is lawful and they are a legally wed couple, which unfortunately is the opposite of the reality. However, in all this drama (made up by the husband) the man should be fully aware of the real facts and circumstances and pursue them with a dishonest or fraudulent intention to cheat the woman he is marrying with.

Under section 496, the court takes cognizance on the complaint being filed with the magistrate i.e. directly in the court of law and does not take cognizance on the basis of an F.I.R. filed with the police station – explained in the case of Baljeet Kaur alias Kulvinder Kaur Vs. State of Haryana[1]

There is no need to fear, if you have solemnised the marriage legally and alongwith all the necessary hindu norms which include ceremonies like saptpadi (saath phere) etc. A case of section 496 can only be levelled against you, if you being the husband ever had a dishonest intention to cheat your wife – here, exact opposite had happened. Now the burden rests on your wife to prove the asserted averments in court (proving which, let me tell you, is not at all that easy). Also, if your version of the story is correct then, proving a case of 498A Indian Penal Code will also not be easy – because, she not stayed for one whole day.

A judgement by the Hon’ble Rajasthan High Court comes to your aid which is on the similar point of law and factual happenings. The case of Dhirendra Singh Vs. State of Rajasthan & Anr.[2] In this case, the court was of the opinion that – (1) No person can be permitted to abuse the law for seeking personal vengeance (2) Criminal law is meant as a shield to protect the interest of an individual (3) It is not meant to be used as a sword for inflicting injuries on others out of a feeling of vengeance (4) FIR motivated which amounts to the gross abuse of the process of law and of the process of the Court.

 

 

[1] 1997(4) R.C.R.(Criminal) 750

[2] 2007(1) RLW 55

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