Calcutta High Court Restores Rape Case Against Man Who Married Another Woman During Subsistence Of Relationship With Complainant

Udit Singh

5 March 2023 7:30 AM GMT

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  • Calcutta High Court Restores Rape Case Against Man Who Married Another Woman During Subsistence Of Relationship With Complainant

    The Calcutta High Court has restored the rape case filed against a man who, after being in a relationship with the complainant for about six years, married another woman during the subsistence of such relationship and hid this fact from the complainant.Justice Rai Chattopadhyay observed:"The most relevant is the accused person to have suppressed the said facts from the defactocomplainant....

    The Calcutta High Court has restored the rape case filed against a man who, after being in a relationship with the complainant for about six years, married another woman during the subsistence of such relationship and hid this fact from the complainant.

    Justice Rai Chattopadhyay observed:

    "The most relevant is the accused person to have suppressed the said facts from the defactocomplainant. These materials are sufficient to find prima facie that the accused might had a guilty mind or culpable intent to procure complainant’s consent to sexual acts by misrepresentation and induced her to misconceive about his intent to sexually exploit her and not to have any serious thoughts for their relationship."

    The bench remarked that two young adults, who have been in relationship for years together may even break up at a later stage and anything done in that relationship may, in normal circumstances be presumed to be done in pursuance to their mutual feelings and understanding.

    "However this element of the mutual mental togetherness is shadowed with doubt, the moment suppression and flippancy creeps in, even at any later stage of the said relationship. In that case a reasonable suspicion of the person backing off in the said relationship, not to have an amount of seriousness as regards the same and even to possess an intention to deceive, from the very initiation – cannot be ruled out," it added.

    The case of the petitioner-complainant was that when the accused severed his relationship and contact with her, she came to know that the accused was married to another woman, for two months before lodging of FIR and during the subsistence of her relationship. with him.

    The FIR was lodged under Sections 493 (Cohabitation caused by a man deceitfully inducing a belief of lawful marriage), 376 (Punishment for rape), 377 (Unnatural offences) and 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of IPC. However, the trial court discharged the accused under section 227 CrPC.

    The petitioner approached the High Court challenging the impugned discharge order.

    The counsel appearing for the petitioner, Jagriti Bhattacharya argued that due to misrepresentation by the accused person, the petitioner agreed for the romantic as well as sexual relationship with him, but for which the petitioner would not have indulged into any such alliance. She further submitted that any consent given under a misrepresentation of fact would not amount to be a consent under section 375 of the IPC.

    Senior Advocate Shataroop Purokayastha appearing for the petitioner further argued that there was the presence of the culpable intention of the accused person, his guilty mind, in misrepresenting his status and thereby indulging a like relationship with the complainant and therefore the act of the accused must be construed as crime.

    The court noted that any consent given under misconception would not amount to be a consent, as it intended in IPC and a strict interpretation of section 375 IPC would include sexual intercourse with the woman “without her consent” to be an offence of rape.

    The court stated that the case of prosecutrix is based on alleged fact that the accused person has extracted her consent under misrepresentation and her misconception.

    The court further observed:

    In this case, it appears that the parties maintained a relationship for a period of six years prior to lodging of the FIR. The accused is said to have solemnized marriage about more or less 2 months prior to the date of filing of the FIR and during subsistence of their relationship. The most relevant is the accused person to have suppressed the said facts from the defacto complainant. These materials are sufficient to find prima facie that the accused might had a guilty mind or culpable intent to procure complainant’s consent to sexual acts by misrepresentation and induced her to misconceive about his intent to sexually exploit her and not to have any serious thoughts for their relationship.

    The court held that the materials in the form of the FIR or the statement of the complainant recorded under section 164 CrPC could not be termed to be devoid of any ingredient to prima facie construe the offence as alleged against accused person.

    The court relied upon the judgement of Supreme Court in Yedla Srinivasa Rao v. State of Andhra Pradesh (2006) 11 SCC 615 and clarified that the consent of the petitioner, whether obtained by misrepresentation of fact or given by her under any misconception would be a question of fact, which the trial Court shall have to decide upon evidence.

    Accordingly, the court set aside the impugned discharge order and directed the trial court to proceed with the trial of the case as expeditiously as possible.

    Case Title: Susma Kumari v. The State of West Bengal & Anr.

    Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 55

    Coram: Justice Rai Chattopadhyay

    Click Here to Read/Download Judgment

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