Sex on pretext of marriage is rape: Supreme Court

The Asian Age.  | J Venkatesan

India, All India

Writing the judgment, Justice Shah said that such incidents are on the increase nowadays and that these are offences against the society.

Supreme Court of India (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: In a significant verdict the Supreme Court has held that a person having sex with a woman on the promise of marrying her will amount to rape and her consent will be of no consequence as it is obtained by fraud.

Giving this ruling, a Bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and M.R. Shah said this kind of consent obtained by the accused cannot be said to be any consent because she was under the misconception that the accused intends to marry her, therefore, she submitted to sexual intercourse with him. This kind of consent taken by the accused with clear intention not to fulfil the promise and persuading the girl to believe that he is going to marry her and obtained her consent for the sexual intercourse under total misconception cannot be treated as consent.

Writing the judgment, Justice Shah said that such incidents are on the increase nowadays and that these are offences against the society. “Rape is the most morally and physically reprehensible crime in a society, an assault on the body, mind and privacy of the victim. As observed by this court in a   catena of decisions, while a murderer destr-oys the physical frame of the victim, a rapist degrades and defiles the soul of a helpless female,” the court observed.

The Bench, slapping a seven-year imprisonment on the appellant doctor Anurag Soni, said rape reduces a woman to an animal as it shakes the very core of her life. “By no means can a rape victim be called an accomplice. Rape leaves a permanent scar on the life of the victim. Rape is a crime against the entire society and violates the human rights of the victim. Being the most hated crime, rape is tantamount to a serious blow to the supreme honour of a woman, and offends both her esteem and dignity,” the court said.

The Bench noted that merely because the accused had married another lady   and/or even the prosecutrix subsequently married is no ground not to convict the appellant accused of the offence punishable under Section 376 of the IPC. “The appellant accused must face the consequences of the crime committed by him,” the court said.

In such cases, the bench said the trial courts must very carefully examine whether the complainant had actually wanted to marry the victim or had malafide motives and had made a false promise to this effect only to satisfy his lust, as the latter fell within the ambit of cheating or deception.

The prosecution case was that the prosecutrix was the resident of Koni, Bilaspur. She was familiar with the accused doctor since 2009 and there was a love affair between them. The appellant had even proposed marriage to her and this fact known to their respective family members. But he lured her on the promise of marriage, had sex with her and then refused to marry.

On a complaint of rape, the trial court and the Chattisgarh high court awarded 10 years imprisonment and in the present appeal the apex court reduced the sentence to seven years.

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