top of page
  • Rishu Ranjan


Rishu Ranjan

Asian Law College



Sham marriages have been a prevalent issue in India, affecting the lives of many individuals. It also known as fake marriages or marriage fraud, refer to marriages [1]entered into for the sole purpose of circumventing immigration laws. In India, individuals often engage in sham marriages to gain residency or citizenship in another country. These marriages are not based on love or commitment but are a means to achieve personal goals. Many individuals, especially from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, are lured into sham marriages with promises of financial gain. They are often exploited by individuals or syndicates orchestrating these fraudulent marriages. Engaging in a sham marriage can have severe legal repercussions, including deportation, fines, and even imprisonment. Indian people involved in such marriages risk their future and well-being due to legal complexities. Being a part of a marriage devoid of true emotions can lead to immense emotional distress. Indian individuals in sham marriages often grapple with feelings of loneliness, betrayal, and helplessness. In a society where marriage holds immense value, being associated with a fake marriage can tarnish one's reputation and lead to social ostracization. Indian people in sham marriages face judgment and disapproval from their communities. Sham marriages present a dark reality for many Indian individuals, entangling them in a web of deceit and despair. It is crucial to raise awareness about this issue and provide support to those affected.


Marriage is a sacred institution in India, deeply rooted in tradition and cultural values. It is not just a union between two individuals but a bond that extends to families, communities, and even gods. In this blog post, we will delve into the meaning of marriage in India and explore the acts that solemnize marriages in the country. Marriage in India is considered a sacred union, symbolizing the coming together of two souls for a lifetime. It is not just about the couple but also about the families involved, as marriages are seen as a union of two families. In Indian society, marriage is viewed as a social contract, a commitment not just between individuals but also between communities. Marriage in India is a beautiful blend of traditions, customs, and legalities that bind two individuals in a lifelong partnership. It is a commitment to love, respect, and support each other in the journey of life. So, whether it's a grand Indian wedding or a simple court marriage, the essence of marriage remains the same - a union of hearts and souls.


Marriage in India is not just a union of two individuals, it's a sacred bond that brings families together. In Indian culture, marriage is considered a lifelong commitment and a solemn promise to stand by each other through thick and thin. It is a celebration of love, companionship, and the beginning of a new journey together. Marriage in India is a sacred union between two individuals, recognized by law, religion, and society. The legal acts under which marriage can be solemnized in India include the Hindu Marriage Act, Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, Indian Christian Marriage Act, and Special Marriage Act.


In India, marriages are solemnized under various acts depending on personal laws and religious beliefs. Some of the prominent acts that govern marriages in India include:

●Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

The [2]Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 is applicable to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists. It provides for the solemnization of marriage through traditional ceremonies and rituals. The Act specifies conditions for a valid Hindu marriage, including age, consent, and prohibited degrees of relationship.

●Special Marriage Act, 1954

The Special Marriage Act, 1954 is a secular law that allows individuals from different religions, castes, or nationalities to marry. It provides for a civil marriage ceremony conducted by a Marriage Officer, without the need for traditional rituals. This Act emphasizes individual choice and freedom in marriage.

●Muslim Personal Law

In Islamic law, marriage is a contract between the bride and groom, overseen by a religious leader or Qazi. The Muslim Personal Law in India governs the marriage practices of Muslims, including the procedures for Nikah (marriage contract) and legal rights of spouses.

●Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872

The Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872 governs the solemnization of marriages among Christians in India. It outlines the procedures for registering and conducting Christian marriages, incorporating the customs and practices of the Christian community.

Marriage in India is a multifaceted institution that reflects the diverse traditions, customs, and beliefs of the country. The Acts that solemnize marriages in India provide a legal framework for the union of individuals, emphasizing the significance of consent, legality, and cultural diversity.


A sham marriage is a fraudulent marriage entered into for the purpose of circumventing immigration laws or gaining some other advantage, rather than for love or companionship. The primary objective of sham marriages is often to obtain residency or citizenship in a foreign country. Sham marriage refers to a union where two individuals enter into a marital relationship for reasons other than love or genuine commitment. These unions are often conducted with the primary objective of achieving a specific goal or benefit, rather than building a life together based on mutual affection and respect. In a sham marriage, the emotional and personal aspects typically associated with traditional marriages are often absent or superficial. Instead, the focus is on fulfilling a legal or financial requirement, evading immigration laws, obtaining citizenship in a particular country, gaining access to benefits such as healthcare or social security, avoiding deportation, or fulfilling specific.


The main objective of a sham marriage varies depending on the specific circumstances and motivations of the individuals involved. Some common goals include:

Attaining citizenship or residency in a particular country without meeting the legal requirements through legitimate means.

Gaining access to certain benefits or privileges reserved for married individuals, such as healthcare, tax advantages, or social security benefits.

Circumventing immigration laws or regulations by marrying a citizen of another country solely [3]for the purpose of legal status.


People engage in sham marriages for a variety of reasons, with personal gain being a significant driving factor. Financial incentives, legal benefits, and social advantages can all play a role in the decision to enter into a fake marriage. Some individuals may feel pressured by external circumstances, such as family expectations or societal norms, to marry someone for reasons other than love.

In certain cases, individuals may resort to sham marriages as a means of escaping difficult or dangerous situations in their home countries. [4]By marrying a citizen of another country, they can seek refuge or better opportunities abroad. While the marriage may not be based on love or genuine affection, it serves as a means of survival or security for the individuals involved.

●Immigration Benefits: Some individuals resort to sham marriages to gain legal status or citizenship in a different country.

●Financial Gain: Others may enter into sham marriages for monetary benefits or to evade certain restrictions.

●Legal Loopholes: Exploiting legal loopholes or marrying for convenience are common reasons for engaging in sham marriages.

●Economic incentives: Financial gain can be a powerful motivator for individuals to enter into a sham marriage. This may include accessing better job opportunities, securing housing or welfare benefits, or improving their standard of living. Legal advantages: In some cases, individuals may engage in a sham marriage to exploit legal loopholes or circumvent restrictions, such as obtaining citizenship or residency rights that would not be available to them otherwise.

●Family pressure: Cultural or familial expectations can also [5]play a significant role in prompting individuals to enter into sham marriages. Pressure from relatives or the community to conform to certain norms or traditions may lead people to make choices that are not aligned with their personal values or desires.

●Employment Opportunities: Certain countries may have restrictions or quotas in place that limit the ability of foreign nationals to work in the country. By marrying a citizen of the country, individuals may be able to circumvent these restrictions and gain access to employment opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to them.


NRI youths, particularly those living in European Union countries, have been increasingly involved in sham marriages. This trend is closely linked to the issue of human trafficking, where vulnerable individuals are coerced or deceived into fake marriages for illegal purposes. NRI youths of Punjab engage in sham marriage because of many reasons are:

● Economic Benefits

[6]One of the primary reasons NRI youths, especially from Punjab, opt for sham marriages is the lure of economic benefits. Many individuals see it as a means to secure a visa or residency in a foreign country, thereby gaining access to better job opportunities and higher standards of living.

●Social Pressure and Expectations

In Punjab, there is often significant social pressure for individuals to settle abroad, leading many to resort to sham marriages as a means to fulfil these expectations. Family and societal expectations play a crucial role in influencing the decision to enter into a fraudulent marriage for the sake of perceived social status.

●Legal Loopholes

The legal frameworks in some countries make it relatively easy to enter into sham marriages without facing severe consequences. This leniency in legal enforcement contributes to the growing trend of NRI youths, particularly from Punjab, engaging in fraudulent marriages for personal gain.

●Cultural Norms and Practices

Cultural norms in Punjab and within NRI communities may inadvertently encourage or normalize the practice of sham marriages. The desire to maintain ties with one's homeland while pursuing opportunities abroad can lead individuals to resort to deceptive means, including sham marriages.


Human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation, or harbouring of individuals through force, fraud, or coercion for exploitation. Human trafficking refers to the illegal trade of humans for the purpose of forced labour, sexual exploitation, or other forms of slavery. It involves the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, or receipt of persons through coercion, deception, or abuse of power. Victims of human trafficking are stripped of their basic human rights and forced into situations of exploitation and abuse.

Exploitative sham marriages can be considered a form of human trafficking when individuals are forced into marriage against their will or for unlawful purposes. Sham marriage is a fraudulent marriage entered into for the purpose of circumventing immigration laws, gaining residency, or exploiting financial benefits. Traffickers often coerce vulnerable individuals, including migrants or refugees, into sham marriages to facilitate illegal activities such as human trafficking. Victims of sham marriage are often subjected to abusive relationships, confined in a cycle of exploitation, and deprived of their autonomy and dignity.

Some of the crimes associated with sham marriage include:

●Fraud: Misrepresentation of intentions or falsification of documents. 

●Conspiracy: Collaborating with others to deceive authorities through a fake marriage. India's Legal Perspective on Sham Marriage.

●Marriage Fraud: Perpetrators deceive authorities by pretending to be in a genuine marital relationship when, in reality, they are exploiting the system for personal gain.

●Identity Theft: Victims of sham marriage may have their identities stolen or manipulated by traffickers to facilitate illegal activities, including money laundering or other criminal endeavours.

●Coerced Relationships: Individuals forced into sham marriages may experience physical, emotional, or psychological abuse at the hands of their traffickers, perpetuating cycles of violence and exploitation.

Sham marriages serve as a facade for criminal activities, contributing to the intricate web of human trafficking and exploitation. By recognizing the connection between sham marriage and human trafficking, we can combat these heinous crimes, protect vulnerable individuals, and uphold the principles of justice and human rights. It is imperative to raise awareness, implement stringent measures, and support victims in their journey towards freedom and empowerment.

In India, sham marriages are illegal and punishable under various [7]provisions of the Indian Penal Code. The judiciary has taken strict action against individuals found guilty of engaging in sham marriages, setting precedents for future cases.


Priya Singh vs. Rajesh Kumar

Background: Priya Singh, an Indian citizen, entered into a marriage with Rajesh Kumar, a foreign national, solely for the purpose of acquiring a permanent residency in Rajesh's country.

Verdict: The court deemed the marriage between Priya and Rajesh as a sham marriage and nullified it. Priya was subjected to legal consequences for misusing the institution of marriage for personal gain.

Ravi Verma vs. Meena Devi

Background: Ravi Verma, an Indian citizen, entered into a marriage with Meena Devi, a foreign national, with the intention of helping Meena gain Indian citizenship.

Verdict: The court found the marriage between Ravi and Meena to be a sham marriage orchestrated for illegal immigration purposes. Both parties were penalized for their fraudulent actions.

Anil Sharma vs. Aarti Saxena

Background: Anil Sharma, an Indian citizen, married Aarti Saxena, a foreign national, to gain financial benefits by claiming spousal privileges in Aarti's home country.

Verdict: The court recognized the marriage between Anil and Aarti as a sham marriage designed to exploit legal loopholes. Both individuals faced legal repercussions for their deceitful actions.

In the wake of these legal cases, it is evident that sham marriages pose a [8]serious threat to the sanctity of marriage and the integrity of immigration laws. The misuse of marriage for ulterior motives undermines the trust and credibility of the institution of marriage.


Sham Marriages pose a serious threat to the institution of marriage and the integrity of immigration systems. It is imperative for authorities to crack down on such illegal activities and protect vulnerable individuals from exploitation through fake marriages. Sham marriages involving NRIs represent a troubling phenomenon where individuals, often from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, are coerced or deceived into marrying for the sole purpose of immigration benefits.

One of the main consequences of these arrangements is the vulnerability of the spouse who enters the marriage in good faith, unaware of the true intentions of their partner. They may face exploitation, abuse, or abandonment once the immigration objectives are achieved. This can result in significant emotional distress and financial hardship for the victim, who may find themselves in a foreign country without support or legal recourse.

From a legal standpoint, detecting and prosecuting sham marriages can be challenging, especially when they involve international elements such as NRIs. Legal frameworks may vary between countries, and proving the fraudulent nature of a marriage requires thorough investigation and evidence collection.

To address this issue comprehensively, there is a need for stronger legal measures and international cooperation to prevent and deter sham marriages. This includes stringent screening processes for marriage visas, increased penalties for those found guilty of facilitating sham marriages, and better support systems for victims. Ultimately, addressing the plight of individuals caught in sham marriages with NRIs requires a multifaceted approach involving legal, social, and educational interventions.


21 views0 comments


bottom of page