Section 498 Of Indian Penal Code:
Section 498 of IPC titled as Enticing or taking away or detaining with criminal intent a married woman. The description of the crime runs 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 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 offence is also referred as criminal elopement. This provision of S.498is intended to protect the rights of the husband. By reading the section we will understand that this section requires some of the following essential ingredients:
1.Taking away or enticing to take away or concealing or detaining the wife of another man from That man or any person having the responsivity to care of her on behalf of that man.
2.Knowledge or reason to believe that she is the wife of another man; and
3.Such taking, concealing or detaining must be with the intent that she may have illicit intercourse with any person.
The word ‘takes’ means the personal or active assistance of the accused to the wife in getting her away from the husband’s protection, or from any person, who was taking care of her in the absence of her husband.
The term ‘enticement’ used in this section refers to some kind of persuasion. In order to prove a person guilty under this section, it must be proved that the enticement of the wife of another was to take heraway from the control of her husband. Therefore, although there is an element of consent but that consent is influenced.
There are four things which need to be understood to understand this section. It says that a woman may be: Taken away, Enticed away, Concealed, or Detained.
In the first three class of cases that is - Taken away, enticed away, concealed; the consent of the woman is irrelevant.For that one has to prove that the said consent is induced or encouraged by the accused by words or by committing any other act, by the pretence to marry her.
Since the object of this section is to protect the rights of the husband. Therefore, this crime cannot be defendedby saying that there was consent.The husband cannot be deprived of his rights if the wife is willing to injure the said rights and the person responsible for her willingness has not detained her.
Further, if a woman is taken away with the consent of the person who was in charge of taking care of her, by the husband, does not come within the meaning of enticing away under S.498 of Indian Penal Code.
Marriage is also one of the essential ingredients of this section. The fact that the woman is married to the person claiming to be the husband and her marriage is subsisting should be strictly proved.
Different From S.366
Sometimes, the provisions of IPC 498 are confused with section 366 of IPC. Section 366 IPC is intended to protect the woman from abduction or kidnapping, where she is compelled to marry or have illicit intercourse with a person against her will.Whereas, IPC section 498 intends to protect the rights of the husband.
The act committed under S. 498 IPC is a criminal offence, punishment is imprisonment for a term of 2 years, or with fine, or it could be both, depending on the facts and circumstances of the matter.
It is non-cognizable, bailable offence triable by any Magistrate.