Entitled to bail even if raped on pretext of marriage : Bombay High Court

A man accused of raping a woman is entitled to anticipatory bail upon being booked for charges of rape on the pretext of marrying the victim in future is upheld by the High Court of Judicature at Bombay through a single judge bench led by HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE SP TAVADE in the case of Gulab Laxman Meshram v. State Of Maharashtra (CRIMINAL APPLICATION (ABA) NO. 21 OF 2022).

Brief facts of the case are that the applicant allegedly promised to marry the complaining woman and had sexual intercourse with her for about four years before expressing that he did not want to marry her. When the woman learned of the applicant’s reluctance, she filed a complaint against him and made an (FIR) registered as per Section 376 of Indian Penal Code. Upon registration, the applicant applied for an anticipatory bail before this court.

The counsel for applicant contended that he never promised the complainant to marry. The couple had a long-term relationship and the applicant had never had any sexual intercourse under the pretext of a promise of marriage.In fact, the applicant had never made any promises to the complainant.

The counsel for the State contended that the applicant proposed  the woman for marriage in the year 2016 and they both stayed together at the complainant’s residence. The applicant promised to marry her and then had sexual intercourse with her until January 2020.

The Bombay High Court held that failure to fulfill the promise of marriage did not mean that the promise itself was wrong. Consent between the parties for sexual relations was not only based on the promise of marriage, but also a consensual relationship.At first glance, it did not show that the promise of the applicant was wrong or that the complainant had sexual intercourse based on this promise. In the case of arrest, the court may release the applicant on bail with a bail of ₹15,000 and to report to the relevant Police Station every day for three weeks.

Click here to read the judgement

Judgement reviewed by- Bhaswati Goldar

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