Supreme Court noted that the charge of rape is not applicable in every case where a man doesn’t marry his girlfriend after a promise. The court also stated that it will not amount to an offence of rape if the promise to marry was not false when it was given but the man, for some real reasons, could not get married to his girlfriend in the future.
The division bench comprising Justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and Justice MR Shah exonerated the charges of a 30-year old man who was accused of rape under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code.
The bench cited the apex court’s 2019 judgment where it was noted that to establish that the consent of a woman for a physical relationship was obtained by fraud and misconception of fact through a false promise of marriage, it was necessary to show that the man gave the promise in bad faith and never had any intention of marrying his girlfriend.
“Every breach of promise cannot be said to be a false promise,” the bench said.
In 2018, the girlfriend of the accused lodged a first information report (FIR) against the man in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. She alleged that he refused to marry her after their relationship of a year and a half. The complainant accused him of deceiving her by establishing a sexual relationship over the pretext of a false promise of marriage.
After a charge sheet was filed in 2018, the accused moved Allahabad High Court seeking quashing of FIR filed against him. In the appeal, he stated that as per the woman’s statement before Magistrate, she was in a relationship with her own will. He also submitted that there is no question of deception as his promise to marry the woman was genuine. It was only the circumstances due to which he could not marry her.
But, the High Court rejected to quash the FIR while stating that offence was cognisable in nature and since it involved disputed questions of facts, the veracity of allegations or otherwise could be established only after a trial.
The accused filed an appeal before the Supreme Court through advocate Amit Pawan stating that the complainant’s own statement before Magistrate reveals that he was willing to marry her and that’s why he made her meet his parents.
Advocate Pawan cited the woman’s statement wherein she herself had submitted that the man had called her to Jhansi in 2018 as he was willing to perform a court marriage with her. The advocate also mentioned that after the man discussed about marrying his girlfriend, the situation turned worse at his home and there was absolutely no intent on his part not to marry her.
The bench found substance in the man’s arguments and noted, “There is no allegation to the effect that the promise to marry given to the second respondent was false at the inception. On the contrary, it would appear from the contents of the FIR that there was a subsequent refusal on the part of the appellant to marry the second respondent which gave rise to the registration of the FIR.” The court quashed the FIR as well as the charge sheet filed against the man.