While observing that the relationship between parties was of consensual in nature, the Supreme Court quashed the criminal case registered against a rape accused.

The Bench of Justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and Justice AS Bopanna was dealing with a case wherein a woman had accused the appellant of rape on the pretext of marriage.

As per her statement, her marriage was solemnized with someone else in spite of which the relationship with the appellant continued.

She stated that the appellant had compelled her to break away from the marriage and her matrimonial relationship came to an end barely three months after she stayed in the matrimonial home.

She further stated that she thereafter returned to the parental home and then started living with the appellant.

Her grievance was that the appellant got engaged to someone else later and though the appellant alleged to have agreed to break off his engagement, he failed to abide by his assurance.

A criminal case came to be registered against the appellant-accused for offence punishable under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code.

An application seeking quashing of the said proceedings came to be dismissed by the Allahabad High Court, following which the accused approached Supreme Court.

Advocate Ramjee Pandey appeared for the appellant-accused whereas Advocate Mohit D. Ram appeared for the complainant-woman.

The Supreme Court noted that the relationship between the accused and the woman was consensual.

"Admittedly, the appellant and the second respondent were in a consensual relationship from 2013 until December 2017. They are both educated adults. The second respondent, during the course of this period, got married on 12 June 2014 to someone else. The marriage ended in a decree of divorce by mutual consent on 17 September 2017. The allegations of the second respondent indicate that her relationship with the appellant continued prior to her marriage, during the subsistence of the marriage and after the grant of divorce by mutual consent.", the Bench observed.

The Court didn't find the essential ingredients of an offence under Section 376 IPC and noted that the relationship between both subsisted before, during and even after the marriage of the woman.

"The High Court, in the course of its judgment, has merely observed that the dispute raises a question of fact which cannot be considered in an application under Section 482 of CrPC. As demonstrated in the above analysis, the facts as they stand, which are not in dispute, would indicate that the ingredients of the offence under Section 376 IPC were not established. The High Court has, therefore, proceeded to dismiss the application under Section 482 of CrPC on a completely misconceived basis.", the Bench noted while quashing rape case against the appellant-accused.

Cause Title- Shambhu Kharwar v. State of Uttar Pradesh & Anr

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