Length Of Relationship Is Relevant Factor In Rape Cases Over False Promise To Marry: Karnataka High Court
The Karnataka High Court has held that the length of a relationship is a relevant factor in cases of rape over a false promise to marry.
The Court quashed charges of rape levelled against the accused who was alleged to have refused to marry the victim after being in a relationship with her for around five years.
A Single Bench of Justice M. Nagaprasanna observed, “The consent in the case at hand is not once, twice or thrice; not for days or months; but for several years, five years precisely, as is narrated in the complaint as the two were in love. Therefore, for five long years, it cannot be said that the consent of a woman has been taken for having such instances, all along against her will. It is the length of the relationship and the acts in such period of such relationship between the two that takes away the rigor of ingredients of Section 375 of the IPC, for it to become an offence under Section 376 of the IPC.”
The Bench was dealing with a case in which the petitioner i.e., the accused was booked for the offences punishable under Sections 376, 376(2)(n), 354, 323, 406, 504, 506 r/w 34 of the IPC.
Advocate Chetan Desai appeared for the accused while HCGP K.S. Abhijith, Advocate Veena J. Kamath, and Advocate Lekha G.D. appeared for the respondents.
A case was pending before the LIII Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge wherein the accused and complainant became acquaintances and their acquaintance turned into a relationship. The said relationship turned into a sexual relationship that went on for a long period.
The allegation was that on the pretext of marriage, the petitioner had sexual intercourse with the complainant and later breached the promise of marriage. The consent of the complainant was obtained by inducement on a false promise of marriage.
The High Court after hearing the contentions of both parties said, “If the afore-narrated facts are considered on the bedrock of elucidation by the Apex Court and the judgment of the High Court of Kerala as afore-quoted, it becomes a case where this Court has to step in exercise its jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C., to obliterate the crime registered against the petitioner for the offence of rape under Section 376 of the IPC, failing which, it would become an abuse of the process of law.”
The Court noted that there are other offences alleged against the petitioner and that Section 354 IPC would get subsumed to the reasons rendered for obliterating the offence under Section 376 IPC.
“… invocation of Section 354 also requires to be obliterated. Section 406 which deals with criminal breach of trust has its ingredients in Section 405. The ingredients of Section 405 mandate that there should be a property entrusted from the hands of the victim to the accused and the accused should have used the said property with dishonest intention towards his or her own purpose. There is neither an allegation of the kind nor any ingredient for the said offence”, said the Court.
The Court asserted that the financial transactions have taken place between the two but that by itself would not become an ingredient of criminal breach of trust and hence such offence also is to be obliterated.
“What remains is offences punishable under Sections 323, 504 and 506 of the IPC. The complaint, statement under Section 164 CrPC and summary of the charge sheet clearly indicate the offences punishable under Sections 323, and 506 of the IPC. Therefore, these offences are required to be sustained and offence under Section 504 of the IPC as well requires to be quashed”, the Court held.
Accordingly, the Court partly allowed the petition.
Cause Title- Mallikarjun Desai Goudar v. State of Karnataka & Anr.