Law to protect Married Life and to prevent Exploitation - Section 493, 494, 495 and 496 of Indian Penal Code

Indian Legal system has strong provisions to protect the concept of family system and to support people to enjoy long married life. Indian Penal Code contains different provisions to protect the right of women and to prevent exploitation. The following are some of the provisions in Indian Penal Code to protect married life and to prevent unlawful marriages and exploitation of women. Any decision related to marriage, re-marriage or live-in-relation should be taken only after understanding the provisions in the IPC.


Cohabitation caused by a man deceitfully inducing a belief of lawful marriage - Section 493 of Indian Penal Code

Extracts of the provision in section 493 is:

"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 a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Marrying again during lifetime of husband or wife - Section 494 of Indian Penal Code
This section is equally applicable to Husband and Wife. The Provision in Indian Penal Code is:

"Whoever, having a husband or wife living, marries in any case in which such marriage is void by reason of its taking place during the life of such husband or wife, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine."

Exception- This section does not extend to any person whose marriage with such husband or wife has been declared void by a court of competent jurisdiction, nor to any person who contracts a marriage during the life of a former husband or wife, if such husband or wife, at the time of the subsequent marriage, shall have been continually absent from such person for the space of seven years, and shall not have been heard of by such person as being alive within that time provided the person contracting such subsequent marriage shall, before such 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.

Same offence with concealment of former marriage from person with whom subsequent marriage is contracted - Section 495 of Indian Penal Code

Whoever commits the offence defined in the 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 fine.

Marriage ceremony fraudulently gone through without lawful marriage - Section 496 of Indian Penal Code

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.

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