Will I be charged under Section 420 for cancelling an engagement?


An act of annulling a marriage owing to a change of heart is not prohibited. Engagement or betrothal has no legal force, and there is no lawsuit if it is broken. You can terminate the marriage by filing a cheating lawsuit against the bride, her parents, and close relatives. In India, there are no laws prohibiting the termination of a relationship. In this case, however, Section 417 of the Indian Penal Code (1860) and Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (1860) may be used to cheat. According to Section 417 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, anybody who cheats is subject to either imprisonment of any sort for a time period up to one year, a fine, or both.

Although less formal than a contract, an engagement letter is nonetheless a legally binding document that may be used in a court of law.

Breaking an engagement has the following legal ramifications: 1. Breach of Promise
To establish a breach of assurance, the opposing party must show that you previously promised to marry him. In addition, he had behaved and modified his lifestyle in light of the promise to marry. Finally, there will be a financial loss. If the opposite party can show these criteria, as well as the breaking of the commitment to marry, you will be responsible for damages.

In Mukesh v State of Karnataka (2014), it was said that if there is a guarantee or commitment to the wedding that has been broken, the other party can file a civil complaint and seek damages.

The Court concluded in Rudresh v State of Karnataka (2014) that a breach of contract can only result in a civil claim for damages and should not be regarded as a crime.

2. Plagiarism
Cheating is defined as when a person fraudulently or dishonestly influences another person to do something he would not do otherwise, and that act causes or is likely to cause damage or injury to that person’s body, mind, reputation, or property under IPC section 415.
Under the Indian Penal Code, cheating is a culpable or punishable offence. If the opposing party is found guilty of cheating, they can be sentenced to a year in prison, a fine, or both under Section 417 of the Indian Penal Code. [Karnataka State v. Christian Chidieere Chukwu (2016)]

In any case, you have a better chance of winning the case since you can show through the communications how the person has been acting. You can also confess any evidence that shows the person has been harassing you. However, if he brings a complaint alleging that it caused actual or bodily harm, mental or reputational harm, or property damage, you will need to present more solid proof to demonstrate that it did not. According to N. Sukumaran Nair v. P. Narayanan, a loss of reputation made it difficult for the other party to find another partner (1996). Similarly, if mental or physical injury is shown, it is culpable and punishable under the IPC.

Reference: Indian Penal Code, 1860
Section 417
Section 420

Case Law:
Mukesh v. State of Karnataka

Rudresh v. State of Karnataka

Christian Chidieere Chukwu v. State of Karnataka – – AHG304 – 202100581 – 163 – 189- 202100155-20210012-1664


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