November 21, 2019 | 9:02 AM IST
sc judgement

SC: It’s not rape if consensual sexual relations develop knowing marriage is unsure

In a major ruling Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee stated that if a woman continues to maintain a physical relationship with a man for a long time despite knowing it won’t yield results, she cannot accuse him of rape on grounds of false promise of marriage. The Supreme Court summarised the legal position regarding interpretation of the term ‘consent’ of a woman with respect to Section 375 (Rape) in cases where the allegation is that the consent was premised on a ‘misconception of fact’ (the promise to marry).

This was with regards to a rape case lodged by an assistant commissioner of sales tax against a deputy commandant of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). The couple was in a relationship for around 8 years and knew each other since 1998. They lived together which displays consensual relationship. The lady alleged that the man forcibly established a physical relationship with her in 2008 promising marriage and the relation continued till 2016 during which they lived at each other’s houses for days.

In 2014, the man raised doubts about their marriage due to her cast, but they continued with their relationship. The lady finally lodged a complaint in 2016 when he informed her about his engagement with another woman.
The bench stated that there is a fine line of distinction between a false promise made with the intention to deceive the woman later and a breach of promise made with good intention but is subsequently unable to fulfil.

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