1. The four appellants were tried before the Sessions Judge of Faridpur sitting with two Assessors on a charge framed under Section 366, Indian Penal Code. The Assessors were for acquitting the appellants. The learned Sessions Judge has convicted them and sentenced them each to rigorous imprisonment for two years.
2. The actual facts are simple enough. The abducted woman Wazidunnessa had been living with her husband at Dhubri. On her husband's death she returned, as a widow to live with her mother Abdunnessa at Paibandi in the Faridpur district. While there she received a proposal of marriage from one Daliladdi. The proposal was distasteful to her--Daliladdi being an old man with wife and children, and she, therefore, refused. She and her mother, however, came to the conclusion that it was desirable that she should marry a man who would reside with them and also maintain the mother. She accordingly, on the 18th April last, entered into a marriage in nika form with one Piziraddin. On the following day the four appellants with Daliladdi came to her house and took her away by force to the house of the appellant Mobarak Ali. There is evidence that while she was at that house, she received another proposal of marriage from Daliladdi.
3. The abduction took place in broad daylight and does not seem to have been accompanied with much force or violence; but there is no reason to suppose that the woman Wazidnnnessawent with the appellants willingly. Both the learned Sessions Judge and the Assessors appear to have been agreed as to the facts proved in their main outline. The Assessors, however, felt some difficulty in finding that the intention charged, namely, that the woman should be compelled to marry Daliladdi against her will, had been sufficiently establishedby the evidence. We have been taken through the depositions of the witnesse; and, having considered those depositions, we are satisfied that the learned Sessions Judge was right in the conclusion that the accused abducted the woman with the criminal intent necessary to an offence under Section 366, Indian Penal Code.
4. In this Court it is suggested that Section 366 does not apply to the case of the abduction of a married woman. It is suggested that that might be an offence under some other section of the Code, for instance Section 498. We see no reason to doubt, however, that the word 'marry' in Section 366 has the same meaning as the same word has in Section 494. What it means is--the going through a form of marriage, whether the marriage should prove in fact legal and valid or illegal and invalid. If the facts and the law applicable to them are as we have stated, the question in this case narrows down simply to the question of sentence.
5. The appellants, as we have said, have been sentenced each to two years' rigorous imprisonment. In the circumstances, that sentence seems, to us to be excessive. If we reduce it, however, it is in the hope that the appellants will hot molest either Wazidunnessa or her mother or husband again. If they do so, they may find themselves in a worse position than they are now. On the whole, we are of opinion that the ends of justice will be met by reducing the sentence passed on each of the accused to a sentence of rigorous imprisonment for six months; and we order accordingly.