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Delhi High Court on Thursday acquits a rape accused and observed that sex on the pretext of marriage doesn’t constitute rape always if the woman continues to have a consensual intimate relationship with the man for a longer period of time.

“A promise of marriage cannot be held as an inducement for engaging in sex over a protracted and indefinite period of time,” the court observed.

The observations are made by Justice Vibhu Bakhru while hearing a rape complaint filed by a woman who had been in an on-off relationship with a man.

Justice Bakhru noted, “In certain cases, a promise of marriage may induce a party to agree to establish sexual relations, even though the party does not desire to consent to the same. Such inducements in a given moment may elicit consent, even though the concerned party may want to say no.”

The court observed that in such cases of false promise to marry, the other party may vitiate consent and, thus, constitute an offence of rape under Indian Penal Code Section 375. The court further stated that in such matters that involve intimacy over a prolonged period of time, the same cannot be seen as rape.

“When there is a continuing intimate relationship which also involves engaging in sexual activity over a significant period of time, the same cannot be seen as involuntary and secured not by affection but only on the lure of marriage,” Justice Bakhru noted.

Justice Bakhru upheld the order of the trial court and acquitted the man accused of rape. The woman had accused the man of raping her several times by making false promises of marriage and then left her for another woman. Their relationship began in 2008.


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