19 July 2023 2:29 PM GMT
The Madhya Pradesh High Court (Gwalior bench) has quashed an FIR as well as criminal proceedings against a man who was accused of raping a woman on the pretext of marriage, observing that more than one year time is sufficient time for a "prudent woman" to realize as to whether the promise of marriage made by the accused is "false from its very inception or there is a possibility of breach...
The Madhya Pradesh High Court (Gwalior bench) has quashed an FIR as well as criminal proceedings against a man who was accused of raping a woman on the pretext of marriage, observing that more than one year time is sufficient time for a "prudent woman" to realize as to whether the promise of marriage made by the accused is "false from its very inception or there is a possibility of breach of promise".
The bench of Justice Deepak Kumar Agarwal observed that the prosecutrix, a mother of three children, was in a physical relationship with the accused "for a long period" and she herself went with him to a thousand therefore, it cannot be said that her consent was obtained by "misconception of fact" and at the most, it can be said to be "a breach of promise to marry".
"When the petitioner was not acceding to her request for marriage, then why she continued with a relationship with him till lodging of the FIR. Thus, it is clear that at the most, it can be said that it is a case of breach of promise and, therefore, it cannot be said that the promise made by the petitioner was obtained under fear or misconception of fact," the Court added as it allowed the quashing plea of the 56 year old accused.
The case in brief
In July 2021, the prosecutrix lodged an FIR against the accused alleging that in the year 2017, she came into his contact and in the year 2020, the accused made a marriage proposal to her, consequently thereto, she came to the Seondha in June 2020 and stayed in a house where the accused made physical relationship with her and by making false pretext of marriage.
It was further alleged that when the prosecutrix asked the accused to marry her, she ignored her. After that, she came back to her house, however, she kept talking to him over the phone. Again, in July 2021, she came back to Seondha and thereafter, the petitioner took the prosecutrix in a car and assaulted her, consequently, thereto the FIR was lodged against the accused and he was booked in the year 2021 under Sections 376(2)(N), 506 and 34 of IPC.
Challenging the FIR and subsequent case proceedings, the accused moved to the HC wherein his counsel argued that the FIR was lodged belatedly by the complainant with a mala fide intention just to take undue benefit.
It was further argued that the complainant- prosecutrix is a mature lady having three children and she had known the accused for more than one year and that she made physical relations with him on her own consent and free will.
On the other hand, the counsel for the State as well as counsel for the complainant submitted that if a girl has believed the promise made by the offender for a long period and continued with the physical relationship, then it cannot be said that her consent was not obtained by misconception of fact.
High Court's observations
Referring to the Apex Court's observations in the case of Deepak Gulati vs. State of Haryana 2013, Tilak Raj vs. State of Himachal Pradesh 2016, Pramod Suryabhan Pawar Versus The State of Maharashtra and Others 2019 and Sonu @ Subhash Kumar Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh & Anr. LL 2021 SC 137, the bench of Justice Agarwal observed that there is a distinction between "mere breach of promise'' and ''giving a false promise to marry''.
"Only a false promise to marry made with an intention to deceive a woman would vitiate the woman's consent being obtained under the misconception of fact, but a mere breach of promise cannot be said to be a false promise," the Court added.
Further, referring to the facts of the case, the Court noted that the complainant- prosecutrix was in a physical relationship with the petitioner for an extended period and she herself went with the petitioner to a house in Seondha, and therefore, it cannot be said that her consent was obtained by misconception of fact.
Under these circumstances, the Court found that the prosecution of the accused for offence under Sections 376(2)(N), 506 and 34 of IPC would be nothing but an abuse of the process of law and, therefore, the Court quashed the FIR and its subsequent criminal proceedings in the form of charge-sheet against him.
Case title - Amar Singh Rajput vs. State of Madhya Pradesh [MISC. CRIMINAL CASE No. 46602 of 2022]
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