The Supreme Court quashed FIR against a man accused of 'rape by giving false promise to marry' and held that the continuation of such prosecution would be a gross abuse of the process of law.

The Court explained that “if it is established that from the inception, the consent by the victim is a result of a false promise to marry, there will be no consent, and in such a case, the offence of rape will be made out.

The complainant, who was the alleged wife of the appellant, had filed an FIR against him stating that the appellant was married to another woman. According to her, the appellant had assured to marry following which their physical relationship started.

The Court pointed out that “though she claimed that it was a forced relationship, she did not make any grievance about it.” and "if the victim of the alleged offence of rape is not under 18 years of age, maintaining a sexual relationship with her consent, is not an offence."

Justice Abhay S. Oka and Justice Pankaj Mithal observed, “It is obvious that the physical relationship between the appellant and the second respondent was consensual, at least from 2013 to 2017. The fact that they were engaged was admitted by the second respondent. The fact that in 2011, the appellant proposed her and in 2017, there was engagement is accepted by the second respondent…it is not possible to accept that the second respondent maintained a physical relationship only because the appellant had given a promise of marriage.

AOR Rameshwar Prasad Goyal represented the appellant, while AOR Aaditya Aniruddha Pande appeared for the respondents.

According to the complainant, there was an engagement ceremony between the appellant and her. The Court noted these facts and held that “therefore, in the facts of the case, it is impossible to accept that the second respondent allowed the physical relationship to be maintained with her from 2013 to 2017 on the basis of a false promise to marry.

On the other hand, the appellant had contended that he had already married the complainant, but was not able to produce a Nikahnama. To this, the Court remarked that there was a statement recorded by the police which confirmed the performance of Nikah between the appellant and the complainant.

Subsequently, the Court held that “the continuation of the prosecution in the present case will be a gross abuse of the process of law.

The appellant was directed to pay Rs. 5 lakhs in maintenance to the complainant, and the already deposited Rs. 10 lakhs would be invested for the child born out of their relationship.

Accordingly, the Supreme Court allowed the appeal.

Cause Title: Sheikh Arif v. The State of Maharashtra & Anr. (2024 INSC 70)


Appellant: AOR Rameshwar Prasad Goyal and Advocate Gagan Sanghi

Respondents: AOR Aaditya Aniruddha Pande and Sugandha Anand, Advocates Siddharth Dharmadhikari, Bharat Bagla, Sourav Singh, Aditya Krishna, and Raavi Sharma

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