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Section 498 IPC: Enticing a Woman

Section 498 IPC: Enticing a Woman

This Article is written by Anushka Raghav, a B.Com. LLB  4th Year student of Banasthali Vidyapith, Rajasthan. The Article talks about section 498 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 vis-a-vis section 497 of Indian Penal Code, 1860. 

Transition in Women’s Condition

The status and the rights of women in Indian society have undergone many changes and have always remained a matter of concern for the socio-religious and political elites of India. In earlier times, women were treated as chattels and rights for them were denied. The religious text and the available literature in ancient India have assigned women a subordinate identity as these texts define the role of Aryan men in detail but women are ignored as the other subaltern classes.

But from the rise of the modern era and the emergence of feminism, the women are getting higher education and all possible rights they could avail. Today’s women are not those women who can keep her voice down for the sake of wrong done to them. She is the new postulate entity knowing her rights and opportunity to avail.

Matter concerned

As the concept Ignorantia Juris Non-Excusat (mistake of law is non-excusable), it is deemed that all entity knows the law of the state. Talking about the law enacted in the 18th century, which is also prevalent in today’s world but some of its provisions are not applicable as they are curtailing the rights, then is held overruled.

The matter of concern is Section 497 of Indian Penal Code, 1860. The section was infringing Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. It deprived the women of the right to live freely and curtailing her right to do the thing which she wants as to her wish. Therefore, the Supreme Court through the case of Joseph Shine v/s Union of India struck down section 497 of the IPC which criminalizes adultery as unconstitutional.

As similar to that section 498 of Indian Penal Code read as:
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 other 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 detain with that intent any such woman, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 2 years or with fine.

As the section states detain or enticing away any women will be punished but evaluating the same, the matter of fact is that the consent of the women is an ignorant fact and the husband who is the custodian of that woman, his consent matters. In the Indian Majority Act, 1999 the person who is of 18 years of age is said to be an adult and no one can give consent on his/her behalf. But Section 498 of IPC contradicts this law as it is said that the husband can give consent on the behalf of women. In the said section the punishment is levied upon the paramour of the wife and not on the wife as same was in the adultery.

This section is not equal on the part of the paramour also as it is not, that ancient world where the women can’t play the role of an active abettor and can cohabit with her consent too. But only the paramour is punished, for the act assented by both the parties. When the abettor for all the offences is being punished then why not she? When the consent of any party is present in an act than it didn’t become a crime and plea could be taken in it, so the same should be enlightened in this. When the paramour is not detaining her without her consent, then he can’t be punished and if punishment is granted then it should be given to the woman also who is indulging herself in the illicit intercourse with some other man, other than her husband.

Deduction of Matter

This article wants to convey the idea embodied in section 497. This wants to emphasize on the fact that the husband has a right not only in regards to the paramour but also in respect of the women who are abetting her by way of aiding her. So the women should also be treated as the point of concern to be looked upon and not only the paramour.

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