‘Re­la­tion­ship that is con­sen­sual, not de­ceit­ful does not equal rape’

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - HT Correspondent

THE COURT SAID THE COU­PLE WAS MAR­RIED, WHICH NEGATED THE WOMAN’S CLAIM THAT THE AC­CUSED HAD CO­ERCED HER INTO PHYS­I­CAL RE­LA­TION­SHIP UN­DER FALSE PROM­ISES

con­sen­sual re­la­tion­ship between two adults with­out any de­ceit or in­duce­ment does not con­sti­tute the of­fence of rape or cheat­ing, said the Bom­bay high court on Sat­ur­day, while strik­ing down a crim­i­nal case reg­is­tered against a Mum­bai­ite, whose girl­friend al­leged that he raped and cheated her.

The com­plainant, a Mu­lund res­i­dent, said she and the ac­cused had been dat­ing for a long time. She said she did not want a phys­i­cal re­la­tion­ship, but he co­erced her into one, say­ing he would marry her.

The re­la­tion­ship turned phys­i­cal in Septem­ber 2014, said the woman. She added that she had also un­der­gone an abor­tion as her boyfriend was un­will­ing to sup­port the child.

She ap­proached the po­lice sta­tion after her boyfriend’s sis­ter told her that he would not marry her The po­lice called which he told the po­lice he would marry the woman. The mar­riage was per­formed on April 25, 2015.

The woman said that on Jan­uary 28, 2016, her hus­band left the house say­ing he was go­ing to at­tend a friend’s wed­ding at Kha­ju­raho in Mad­hya Pradesh. How­ever, he nei­ther re­turned home nor an­swered the phone when she called. She ap­proached the Mu­lund po­lice again.

Act­ing on her com­plaint, the po­lice booked her hus­band un­der sec­tions 376 (pun­ish­ment ing and dis­hon­estly in­duc­ing delivery of prop­erty) of the In­dian Pe­nal Code.

The man ap­proached the high court, say­ing that even if the woman’s al­le­ga­tions were true, he was not guilty of rape or cheat­ing. He said that to con­tinue crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings would be an abuse of the law.

A di­vi­sion bench of jus­tices Ab­hay Oka and Anuja Prab­hudes­sai noted that the woman was not a mi­nor and the re­la­tion­ship had been con­sen­sual from the be­gin­ning. They said that thus, their phys­i­cal re­la­tion­ship could not con­sti­tute rape.

The judges said the cou­ple was mar­ried, which negated the woman’s al­le­ga­tion that the man had de­ceived her or lured her into phys­i­cal re­la­tion­ship un­der the false prom­ise of mar­riage.

“It must be shown that the ac­cused had fraud­u­lent in­ten­tions at the time of mak­ing the prom­ise Only then can it con­sti

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