The Bombay High Court in its 12 February judgment, has dismissed a plea to quash criminal proceedings against a man accused of rape, on allegations that he seduced the complainant on a false assurance to marry her.
The Division Bench comprising of Justices Sunil B Shukre and Madhav J Jamdar observed that ‘consent’ obtained by a man from a woman, on the assurance that he loves her alone and no one else, would not be considered as ‘consent’. The bench further held that, maintaining sexual relations on such an assurance would amount to rape.
In the present case, the accused (applicant) claimed that he had a consensual relationship and a love affair with a woman (respondent 2) and that she consented to have physical relations with him. However, the woman claimed that her consent was given under a misconception, as the man gave her a false assurance. She stated that he seduced her on the premise that he ‘exclusively’ loved her and no one else.
Subsequently, the bench observed that “If the allegations made by the woman against the man are considered at face value, a prima facie impression is created that she agreed to have sexual relations with him only in the belief that the love expressed by him was genuine.”
However, the complainant (respondent 2) had initially informed the court that she was ‘unwilling to fall prey to the advances made towards her by the applicant.’ The Court observed that she later agreed to have sexual relations, not out of her deep love and passion, but on an assurance that the applicant exclusively loved her.
Meanwhile, it was submitted to the Court that the applicant made an express promise to marry the complainant when her servant became aware of the affair and threatened to tell her mother about the same.
“A person who expresses such words for another creates an impression in the mind of the another that the person exclusively belongs to another and that the person, would not cheat another at any point of time, and when it is seen that those words were not really meant by the person, it would, in our opinion, lead to the formation of a prima-facie inference regarding the consent having been given under a misconception of fact,” observed the court.
Further, citing the case of Dr. Dhruvaram Murlidhar Sonar and Anr vs. State of Maharashtra and Ors, the bench held that the Supreme Court had cautioned that it is only when the sole intention of making a promise to marry was to seduce a woman, that such an act would amount to rape. On the other hand, it would not be rape where the prosecutrix agrees to have sexual intercourse on account of her ‘love and passion’, and not on the misconception of marriage created by the accused, or ‘where an accused, on account of circumstances which he could not have foreseen or which were beyond his control was unable to marry her despite having every intention to do.’
Thus, in the present case, prima facie, malafide intention and clandestine motive of the applicant could be clearly seen by his attempt to seduce respondent 2 into having a sexual relationship with him when he, in spite of her reluctance, expressed initially, gave such an assurance as was sufficient to misconceive it as genuine.
“If the complainant had any mala fide intention and if he had clandestine motives, it is a clear case of rape,” stated the bench while finding no merit in the application to quash criminal proceedings and dismissed the same.