The Madhya Pradesh High Court has quashed FIR and consequential criminal proceedings under Sections 376 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), after noting that the prosecutrix has taken a divergent stand about her marriage with the accused.

The Single Bench of Justice Anand Pathak also noted the delay in filing the complaint and termed the litigation as vexatious and frivolous. "…it appears to be vexatious and frivolous litigation just to exert pressure over petitioner to extract money or an attempt made by prosecutrix to convert domestic dispute into criminal allegations," the court held while quashing the FIR.

In this case, the FIR was registered by the complainant/prosecutrix for offence punishable under Section 376 and 506 of the IPC against the petitioner. It was alleged that the petitioner committed rape on her after inducing her with a promise to marry so that he can maintain her children born out of her first wedlock. It was further alleged that he committed rape on her in 2001 and she became pregnant and one child was born.

The prosecutrix's first husband died after she had two children out of the wedlock. The accused was already married but did not have any children.

Advocate Amit Lahoti appearing on behalf of the petitioner submitted that an improbable event was conceptualized by prosecutrix. He further submitted that she came into contact with the petitioner in 2001 and out of their relationship a child was born who now happens to be 20 years of age. He argued that it was highly improbable that she remained silent for such long years and after 18 years she raised her voice.

He submitted that the parties belong to Scheduled Caste and as per their customs, Natra (social customs like live-in/marriage) was performed in which, with consent of his first wife, he lived with both of his wives and that when the petitioner did not part his whole property in the favor of the prosecutrix, the allegations were made against him.

Advocate Ravi Ballabh Tripathi appearing for the respondent prayed for dismissal of the petition on the ground that the trial will decide the fate of the case.

The Court observed that for 18 years, the prosecutrix lived with the petitioner and in fact blessed with a child who is almost 20 years old by now and that after 18 years she filed a complaint on which case has been registered against the petitioner. The court held that such delay in filing of the case renders the case doubtful.

"When petitioner and prosecutrix lived together as a couple for 18 long years then after such lapse of time any allegation levelled by prosecutrix pales into oblivion because they are primarily motivated to exert pressure," the court noted.

The Court also observed that on the one hand she levelled the allegations that they lived in a live-in relationship but she has made an application under Section 125 CrPC stating that they were married. The Court held that such a divergent stand can only be availed of in case of misrepresentation of facts.

"On the basis of cumulative analysis, perusal of charge-sheet and nature of allegations, no case for trial is made out. From the very contents of FIR and attending circumstances, case appears to be frivolous one", the Court held while quashing the FIR and further criminal proceedings.

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