Section 496, Fraudulent or unlawful marriage under IPC

Section 496 of the Indian Penal Code deals with the offence of marriage ceremony fraudulently gone through without lawful marriage. By virtue of this section, fraudulent or mock marriages are punishable offence. Section 496 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 is categorised under the offences relating to marriage.

Section 496 of IPC applies to those cases, in which a mock marriage ceremony is gone through, where it would in no case constitute a marriage, and in which one of the party deceived by the other party into the belief that, it does constitute a marriage OR in which effect is sought to be given by the proceedings to some collateral fraudulent purpose.

Where the ceremony gone through does, but the previous marriage constitute a valid marriage and if both the parties are very much aware of the circumstances of the previous marriage, then Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code will apply, where it deals with the offence of marrying again during the lifetime of husband OR wife1. However, when such a second marriage is performed fraudulently, complaint under this section can be made only by the person so deceived and not by the first wife2.

Where the accused married for the second time during the pendency of the special appeal against the decree of divorce in violation of Section 15 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, but without concealing the fact that, of the pendency of the appeal from the girl OR her parents, no conviction could be entered under Section 496 of the Indian Penal Code, as the act of the accused is neither fraudulent nor dishonest3.

  1. Rama Sona, [1873] Unrep Cr.C 77 []
  2. Prasanna Kumar v. Dhanalaxmi, 1989 Cr.LJ 1829 []
  3. Kailash Singh, 1982 Cr.LJ 1005 [Raj] []

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