There may be a number of problems associated with marriage. Below is an indicative list of protections for women in a marital relationship.


Dowry related offences

  • As per the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, dowry means any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given by the bride to the groom or by the groom to the bride or by the parents of either the bride or the groom or by any other person at or before or any time after marriage.
  • As per the Act, giving, taking, demanding or even advertising for dowry is an offence. Penalty for any of these is imprisonment for a term that varies between 6 months and 5 years, and fine.
  • Many women face cruelty by their husband and his relatives due to dowry or otherwise. According to Section 498A of the IPC, they shall be punished with imprisonment upto 3 years and shall also be liable to fine.
  • Dowry death is the death of the woman because of burns, injuries or by any other unnatural reason within 7 years of her marriage. The condition is that before the death she should have been treated with cruelty in connection with dowry by her husband and his relatives. The burden lies on the husband and in-laws to prove that the death was not on account to their acts. Section 304B of the IPC punishes this with imprisonment for 7 years to life.


Violence within the home

  • Domestic violence ois any kind of physical, sexual, emotional, economic violence on women within their homes by those who are in a domestic relationship with them (this covers both natal and marital home).
  • The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA), 2005 ,provides remedy in the form of protection order, residence order, temporary custody of children, monetary relief and compensation order.
  • Under PWDVA, breach of a Protection Order is punishable with imprisonment for a term upto 1 year, or with fine upto Rs. 20,000/-, or with both.
  • Cruelty is any wilful conduct which is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman; or harassment of the woman to coerce her or any person related to her meet any unlawful demand.
  • Section 498A of the IPC protects against cruelty by husband or his relatives, with a punishment of imprisonment for upto 3 years, with fine


Bigamy - Marrying again during lifetime of husband or wife

  • Bigamy is when a person marries again, having a husband or wife living in any case when such a marriage is considered void on account of taking place during the lifetime of such husband or wife.
  • Section 494 of the IPC punishes this with imprisonment of upto to 7 years, and fine.
  • This section does not extend to any person whose first marriage has been declared void by a Court, or a person who’s husband or wife has been continually absent for a period of at least 7 years and has not been heard of as being alive, provided the person entering the subsequent marriage shall, before such marriage takes place, inform the person whom they are marrying.


Marriage ceremony fraudulently gone through without lawful marriage

  • It is an offence to dishonestly or with a fraudulent intention, go through the ceremony of being married, knowing that it is not a lawful marriage.
  • Section 496 of the IPC punishes this with imprisonment of upto to 7 years, and fine.


Child Marriage

  • A marriage where the age of the female is less than 18 years the age of the male is less than 21 years..
  • The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 punishes those who promote, perform and abet child marriages, along with any man above the age of 18 years marrying any girls below the age of 18 years.
  • Any person who has been a victim of child marriage can apply to the Court for the annulment of such marriage within two years of attaining majority.