Mumbai: Observing that there was no direct link between the promise of marriage and the woman’s decision to engage in sexual relationship with the accused, the Bombay High Court quashed an FIR registered against a man for rape in 2023. Interestingly, the man had told the complainant to marry the person of her parent's choice, with the assurance that he would tie the nuptial knot with her after convincing his parents.
The HC was hearing a petition filed by him, seeking quashing of the FIR registered by the woman after he refused to keep his word. “Even if accepted in their entirety, the FIR allegations don't disclose that the promise of marriage was false from inception and that the woman had sexual relationship only in view of the promise. The accusations in the case belie that the consent was vitiated by a misconception of fact,” observed a bench of Justices Anuja Prabhudessai and NR Borkar on January 10.
From workplace romance to broken promises
The accused and the complainant were working in the same company. They developed a sexual relationship after the man allegedly promised to tie the nuptial knot once he managed to convince his parents. In the meantime, the woman’s parents fixed her marriage with another man. The accused asked her to marry the other man and assured that he would marry her after getting his parents' nod. The woman did accordingly. When her husband found out about her past relationship, he dropped her off at her parents house within three days of marriage. When the accused refused to marry, the woman approached the police.
The court remarked that the two were well-qualified adults and were in a relationship since 2021. It noted that the woman engaged in sexual relationship with the man even after agreeing to marry another person. “This fact clearly indicates that the promise to marry had no direct nexus with her decision to engage in sexual relationship with the petitioner,” the bench underlined.
Quashing the case against the man, the judges remarked that “continuance of criminal proceedings will result in abuse of process of the court”. The court recorded the man’s statement that he will not interfere with the woman's life and/or defame her in any manner over their past relationship.