Guj HC Quashes Rape Charges Against Ex-Husband For Maintaining Sexual Relations After Alleged 'Divorce'[Read Judgment]

Guj HC Quashes Rape Charges Against Ex-Husband For Maintaining Sexual Relations After Alleged Divorce[Read Judgment]

The Gujarat High Court recently quashed rape charges levelled by a woman against her ex-husband who allegedly cohabited with her even after the dissolution of their marriage by keeping her in dark about their divorce.

The order was passed by Justice AS Supehia on a petition filed by the husband under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1974. He had demanded quashing of the FIR registered against him with Mahila Police Station, Rajkot for offences punishable under sections 376, 406 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code.
In her complaint, the wife, a schoolteacher, had claimed that she left her matrimonial home due to harassment. Her husband had then approached the family court for restitution of conjugal rights. However, the matter was allegedly settled between the two in August 2013, after which they continued to stay together in the matrimonial house.
A month later that year, the husband obtained her signature on a stamp paper, allegedly informing her that this was being done for the withdrawal of the case filed by her against him. However, 10 months later, she was informed that she had actually given her consent for divorce by mutual consent by signing on those papers. She also found out that the husband had tied the knot with another woman in the meantime.
She then filed a case against her husband in 2017, accusing him of having established sexual relations with her during their separation. She alleged rape, asserting that sexual relations were established between them only because he fraudulently made her believe that she was still his lawfully wedded wife. She further accused him of committing breach of trust by obtaining her signatures on those papers.
The court, however, sided with the husband. Firstly, it opined that the wife was qualified enough to have understood the documents before signing them. It observed, "It is not in dispute that the respondent no.2 is a teacher having qualification of M.A and is also serving as a teacher. It is difficult to comprehend that she did not understand the contents of the deed of divorce dated 23.09.2013 and had put her signatures on all the pages including her identity proof."
Therefore, it was not inclined to accept these allegations and ruled that the offences under Sections 406 and 420 are not made out.
As for the rape accusation, the court opined that the wife had wilfully cohabited with him after the settlement and hence, cannot now claim to have established sexual relations without her consent. It observed,
"Since there was no separation and the respondent no.2 on her own volition went with the applicant and stayed with him after the settlement, it cannot be said that the applicant had committed the offence under section 376(B) of the IPC. Having sexual intercourse during such period of wilful cohabitation does not amount to having entering in physical relationship without her consent. Thus, the allegations do not satisfy the ingredients of section 375(B) of the IPC also."
The FIR was, therefore, quashed, with the court opining that the FIR was filed with "oblique motive and for undue harassment and to wreck vengeance on the applicant".
Read the Judgment Here