A Punjab & Haryana High Court Bench of Justice Sureshwar Thakur and Justice Kuldeep Tiwari has upheld an order of acquittal passed by a Trial Court in a rape case.

In that context, the Court said that "it emerges that there is not one, but, various material contradictions in the statement of prosecutrix, recorded under Section 164 Cr.P.C., with the statement recorded before Court, during the course of trial, which tantamounts to material improvements and as a consequence, the same are unworthy of any credence being assigned thereto. Besides the above discussed anomalies, to elaborate further, when the prosecutrix stepped in the witness box, she narrated a couple of incidents regarding her being threatened to be killed by the respondent No.2, whereas, any such threats, ever being extended to her, do not became narrated, even briefly, in her statement recorded under Section 164 Cr.P.C. Moreover, the allegations qua prosecutrix being blackmailed by the respondent No.2, as carried in her deposition before Court, and, which she stated to be one of the reasons for her continuing her relationship with appellant/accused, also do not find any place in her statement recorded under Section 164 Cr.P.C. Evidently, the prosecutrix has herself admitted to be continuing her relationship with the respondent No.2, despite gaining knowledge about his marriage with some other woman."

Counsel AK Sharma appeared for the Appellant, while DAG Anmol Malik appeared for the State.

In this case, an appeal was filed by the Appellant, against the order of acquittal of the Respondent, whereby the Respondent had been acquitted of offences under Sections 354(D), 376(2)(N) and 506 of the IPC. As per the FIR filed by the Appellant, the Respondent had sexual intercourse with her on multiple occasions against her will from 2012 onwards. She alleged that the first intercourse was forcible in nature upon admission of intoxicating substances to her, and the subsequent sexual activities were under the promise of marriage.

In addition, the Appellant alleged that she became pregnant in 2016 but was forced to undergo an abortion by the Accused. It was also alleged that the Respondent got married in 2017, and this information came to the Appellant's notice only at a later stage. The Respondent continued to make physical relations with the Appellant against her will under the pretext of marriage and the promise that he would divorce his wife.

The Trial Court held that the Appellant had an affair with the Respondent on her free will and that there was no evidence to conclusively prove that the Respondent had falsely promised to marry her.

On hearing the arguments and perusing the evidence, the High Court observed that "On a conjoint reading of the statement of prosecutrix, recorded under Section 164 Cr.P.C., and, the MLR, containing assault history, we can safely conclude that it is a case where sexual relationship continued for a long period, i.e. more than 6 years, and it continued even after the marriage of respondent No.2. Insofar as the reasoning given by the prosecutrix, as stated in history of sexual assault in the MLR, for continuing her physical relationship with respondent No.2 even after his marriage is concerned, it lacks corroboration, as the prosecutrix was completely mute in this regard in her both subsequent statements recorded before Magistrate, under Section 164 Cr.P.C., and, before the learned trial Court. Therefore, it is a clear cut case of consensual sexual relationship."

In similar context, the Court also noted that "in our opinion, the ultimate gist of the present case, as culled out from the afore-discussed facts and circumstances, is that the prosecutrix and the respondent No.2 were having love affair for around 6-7 years and they had a consensual sexual relationship, which continued even after the marriage of the respondent No.2. However, consequent to the marriage of respondent No.2, the prosecutrix felt neglected and their relationship also turned sour, which led to registration of the present FIR against the respondent No.2."

Therefore, the Court did not find any ground to interfere with the impugned order of acquittal. The appeal was dismissed and the order of acquittal was upheld.

Cause Title: X v. State of Haryana & Anr.

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