• Can legal action be taken if a person breaks the engagement?

Hello,
I really need your help with some legal advice.My boyfriend(indian) and I live together for the last 2 years.This month on 1.11.2016 my boyfriend went to India and got engaged in india,forced by the situation in his family,at the day of the engagement he signed a paper not even knowing what that paper was,after one week or so his mother told him that this paper is a registred marriage certificat for visa purposes,so that his fiancee will be able to obtain the visa for Germany(where we live) faster.Now my question is:in this situation, if he says that he doesn't want to get married anymore,he wants to break the engagement,what legal repercusions will have his act? Can he go to jail or pay a fine?what legal action can the girls family take against him?
i really need fast an answer.
Thank you!
Asked 17 days ago in Family Law from Belgium
Religion: Hindu
1)if he breaks engagement girl can file police complaint against him for cheating under section 415  of IPC 

2) she can also file suit for damages under section 73 and 74 of indian contract act 

3) Damages for breach of promise to marry shall include not only material and pecuniary losses but also compensation for mental and moral suffering

4) boy cannot be forced to marry girl against his wishes . he should return all gifts received at time of engagement and offer to bear the expenses incurred by girls family 
Ajay Sethi
Advocate, Mumbai
23151 Answers
1216 Consultations
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1) suit for damages is a civil case 

2) cheating case is criminal offence 

3) he punishment for this bailable offence is up to a year's imprisonment or fine or both.

4) mere failure to keep a promise cannot be presumed to be cheating unless such intention was shown when the inducement was given.

5) It is a matter of evidence on the facts of each case.
Ajay Sethi
Advocate, Mumbai
23151 Answers
1216 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
Dear Querist
first of all, if this was a marriage certificate then the confirm knowledge of that certificate is required for best advise.

if this was a marriage certificate then the marriage has been completed but based on fraud and for that the boy may file a annulment petition before family court as soon as possible under section 12 of Hindu marriage Act-1955 before family court of area where the certificate was issued.

if this was only the application form then no need to worry, issue a notice to marriage registrar regarding the non performing the marriage and deny the appearance before the registrar.

Feel Free to Call
Nadeem Qureshi
Advocate, New Delhi
3522 Answers
129 Consultations
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1. There s no question of applicability of section 415 IPC in this case.
2. The boy family to save themselves must inform them in writing the reason for cancellation and return all the articles.
3.The marriage engagement does not crate any binding contract between the aprties and hence it can not be specifically performed.
4. Howsoever if one party feels that the decision of cancellation was rash damaging the reputation of the party then he/she can file civil suit for damages.
5. But no criminal case lies unless there is allegations of dowry demand and its non fulfillment behind the cancellation.
Devajyoti Barman
Advocate, Kolkata
5179 Answers
54 Consultations
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1. It is hard to believe that your partner did not see or know what paper he is signing which was given to him by his mother?

2. You have stated that his mother had mentioned that "this paper is a registered marriage certificate...." 

3. How can it be a registered marriage certificate unless he has married and registered his marriage before the local Registrar of Marriage?

4. Or was it an application before the Registrar of Marriage for getting his marriage registered after completion of one month of the stipulated notice period for getting a registered marriage?

5. If it is a marriage certificate then he has already married and registered his marriage and now applying for the VISA of his wife for taking her to Germany as his wife.

6. If he has already got married to her and registered his said marriage then all are over. he is a married man now and as per Indian law can not continue to have live in relationship with you.

7. If he has not yet married her and not got any marriage registered, then he can easily refuse to marry the said engaged girl on some acceptable ground and he will not be arrested ordinarily.

8. If the girl complaint with evidence and  prove that he is refusing to marry her since she has refused to pay a sum of amount demanded by him for marrying her (in India this perverted system is prevalent in some greedy people who extort money from the bride's side) then only he will be arrested till  he can manage to get bail or can avoid getting arrested if he can manage to get an anticipatory bail.

9. The only legal action the girl's family can take is that they can file a damage suit for damaging their reputation in their society, trust and also breach of assurance. They can also lodge/ file a dowry demand complaint/case as explained above.
Krishna Kishore Ganguly
Advocate, Kolkata
12077 Answers
228 Consultations
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1. No. Section 415 of IPC is not applicable in this case.

2. he can be charged for demanding dowry and cancelling the marriage for being refused to pay the demanded dowry which is an illegal act as per Indian law.
Krishna Kishore Ganguly
Advocate, Kolkata
12077 Answers
228 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
Now my question is:in this situation, if he says that he doesn't want to get married anymore,he wants to break the engagement,what legal repercusions will have his act? 

he can break this engagement because engagement or betrothal is only an invitation to contract. it is not a valid contract. no imprisonment or damages will be claimed. only special damage like expenses occurred on engagement will be recovered. section 415 will not attract in this case. and also section 73 / 74 will also not attract because it is not a valid contract but only an invitation to contract.
Shivendra Pratap Singh
Advocate, Lucknow
2731 Answers
41 Consultations
4.9 on 5.0
Can he go to jail or pay a fine?what legal action can the girls family take against him?

no legal action will be initiated against him because this is at pre mature stage. if he performed this marriage then refuse to live with her or live with you then he will be prosecuted under section 494/498 A IPC. 
Shivendra Pratap Singh
Advocate, Lucknow
2731 Answers
41 Consultations
4.9 on 5.0
1. If he signed a form for registration of marriage then it is possible that his family members may have played deceit to have him married under the Special Marriage Act. Mere engagement does not pave way for spousal visa, it is the marriage of the applicant which does. If he has been married then he cannot marry you unless he obtains a decree of dissolution or annulment of marriage. Remarriage during the subsistence of first marriage is bigamy which carries imprisonment of up to 7 years. He may apply for annulment on the ground that his consent to marriage was obtained through fraud. He should first find out from the office of marriage registrar if he is married or not.

2. A promise to marry is not legally enforceable in India. The promisor can revoke the promise without assigning any reason.
Ashish Davessar
Advocate, Jaipur
18061 Answers
447 Consultations
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Once a marriage has been registered after a function though you may cal it as an engagement only, it is a legally valid marriage.
The marriage certificate is a substantial evidence for their marriage.
He has to obtain divorce only for the present and cannot escape the liability of the legally valid marriage. 
Since now he is a married person, he cannot marry you without divorcing his wife as per law even if you and him are planning for a marriage.
It will be an offence under bigamy law. 
T Kalaiselvan
Advocate, Vellore
13948 Answers
127 Consultations
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For the boy will be no problem paying the money and give everything back,in the section 415 of IPC and section 73 & 74 of Indian contract act i didn't see anything as a jail punishment.Can still that be possible? Because this is our concern now.

Since his marriage has been registered with the marriage registrar and a certificate to that effect has been obtained it can no more be called just as an engagement, it can be said that the marriage took place in the said function.
Therefore the marriage liabilities cannot be denied or refused by him at this stage.  He can file a petition for annulling the marriage since it was forced on him without his consent and by playing  fraud. 
T Kalaiselvan
Advocate, Vellore
13948 Answers
127 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0

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