198. Prosecution for offences against marriage.

(1) No Court shall take cognizance of an offence punishable under Chapter XX of the Indian Penal Code except upon a complaint made by some person aggrieved by the offence:
Provided that-
(a) where such person is under the age of eighteen years, or is an idiot or a lunatic, or is from sickness or infirmity unable to make a complaint, or is a woman who, according to the local customs and manners, ought not to be compelled to appear in public, some other person may, with the leave of the Court, make a complaint on his or her behalf;

(b) where such person is the husband and he is serving in any of the Armed Forces of the Union under conditions which are certified by his Commanding Officer as precluding him from obtaining leave of absence to enable him to make a complaint in person, some other person authorised by the husband in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (4) may make a complaint on his behalf;

(c) where the person aggrieved by an offence punishable under section 494 or section 495 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) is the wife, complaint may be made on her behalf by her father, mother, brother, sister, son or daughter or by her father’s or mother’s, brother or sister , with the leave of the Court, by any other person related to her by blood, marriage or adoption.

Bare Act PDFs

(2) For the purpose of sub-section (1), no person other than the husband of the woman shall be deemed to be aggrieved by any offence punishable under section 497 or section 498 of the said Code:
Provided that in the absence of the husband, some person who had care of the woman on his behalf at the time when such offence was committed may, with the leave of the Court, make a complaint on his behalf.

(3) When in any case falling under clause (a) of the proviso to sub-section (1), the complaint is sought to be made on behalf of a person under the age of eighteen years or of a lunatic by a person who has not been appointed or declared by a competent authority to be the guardian of the person of the minor or lunatic, and the Court is satisfied that there is a guardian so appointed or declared, the Court shall, before granting the application for leave, cause notice to be given to such guardian and give him a reasonable opportunity of being heard.

(4) The authorisation referred to in clause (b) of the proviso to sub-section (1), shall be in writing, shall be signed or otherwise attested by the husband, shall contain a statement to the effect that he has been informed of the allegations upon which the complaint is to be founded, shall be countersigned by his Commanding Officer, and shall be accompanied by a certificate signed by that Officer to the effect that leave of absence for the purpose of making a complaint in person cannot for the time being be granted to the husband.

(5) Any document purporting to be such an authorisation and complying with the provisions of sub-section (4), and any document purporting to be a certificate required by that sub-section shall, unless the contrary is proved, be presumed to be genuine and shall be received in evidence.

(6) No Court shall take cognizance of an offence under section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, where such offence consists of sexual inter-course by a man with his own wife, the wife being under eighteen years of age, if more than one year has elapsed from the date of the commission of the offence.

Bare Act PDFs

(7) The provisions of this section apply to the abetment of, or attempt to commit, an offence as they apply to the offence.

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