Sec. 493. Cohabitation caused by a man deceitfully inducing a belief of lawful marriage:

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.

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Ingredients of Section 493:

1. The person induces a woman.

2. He deceitfully creates a false belief in her that she is his legal wife.

3. He cohabitates and enjoys sexual intercourse with that woman keeping her believed as his legal wife.

4. In reality and fact, she is the concubine only.

5. He does not have any intention to marry her and to provide legal status of wife.

6. The offence under this Section may also be punished as Rape under Section 375, clause (4)

7. Nature of offence: The offence under Section 493 is non-cognizable, non-bailable, non-compoundable, and triable by Magistrate of the first class.

B. Bigamy: [Refer to Topic Bigamy] [Sections 494. and 495]

C. Fraudulent or mock marriages:

Section 496 of the Code says about “Marriage ceremony fraudulently gone through without lawful marriage”. This Section lays down that 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 offence under Section 496 is non-cognizable and bailable, compoundable with permission of the Court before which any prosecution of such offence is pending, and shall be tried by the Magistrate of the First. Class throughout India. In Andhra Pradesh, the offence is cognizable, non-bailable, triable by the Magistrate of the first class and non-compoundable vide Andhra Pradesh Act No. 3 of 1992, Section 2 w.e.f. 15-2-1992.

One of the parties to the marriage makes to believe the other party that the marriage between them is valid, even though it is not a valid marriage. The deceived party innocently believes that their marriage ceremony is lawful. The offence is that the wrong-doer intentionally, dishonestly and fraudulently makes to believe the other party to the marriage that their marriage and marriage ceremony are lawful.

Kailash Singh vs. State of Rajasthan (1982 CrLJ 1005 Raj)

Brief Facts:

The accused was a married person. He induced a girl saying that he was unmarried. The parents of the girl also believed his words. They gave dowry and arranged marriage between the accused and their daughter. At the time of the marriage ceremony, the parents came to know the fraudulent act of the accused. The deceived girl complained the matter to the police.

The Court convicted the accused under Section 496. Here we have to note that if the complaint is filed by the first wife, the offence comes under Sections 494 and 495 (Bigamy).

The first wife is not entitled to file complaint under Section 496. Only the deceived girl or the parents of the deceived girl shall have to file the complaint under Section 496.

Distinction between Section 493 and 496: In plain reading, no difference is observed in these two Sections. However, there are several differences between them.

In the former, the accused cohabits and inter courses with the woman without marriage and gives the impression that she was his married wife. In the latter, the accused conducts a mere show, unlawful and false marriage.

D. Adultery: [Refer to Topic Adultery.] (Section 497)

E. Enticing or taking away or detaining with criminal intent a married woman:

Section 498 says that whoever takes or entices away any woman who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of any other man, from that man, or from any person having the care of her on behalf of that man, with intent that she may have illicit intercourse with any person, or conceals or detains with that-intent any such woman, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

This Section is similar to Sections 361 and 366 (Kidnapping and Abduction). However, this Section applies only in case of married woman. When any person entices, takes and detains a married woman with criminal intention, he shall be punishable with two years imprisonment with fine or with both.

It is a minor offence of all the offences relating to marriage. Mere elopement of an unmarried major woman by an unmarried major man is not an offence.

It is presumed that they would like to marry. But elopement of a married woman, even though, she gives her consent for such elopement, it is an offence. The object of this section is to prevent illicit connections of married woman with a third person, and to protect the husband’s marital rights and to safeguard the family institutions intact. Under this offence, even though the married wife is also an accomplice and consenting party supporting such offence, she is not punished as an abettor nor as an accomplice nor as an adulterer.

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