‘It Is Only After The Physical Relationship, The Issue Regarding Marriage Cropped Up’ : Calcutta HC

The single judge bench consisting of Justice Tirthankar Ghosh of the Calcutta High Court recently in the case of Sk Sohel Ashik v. State of West Bengal (CRR 1120 of 2021) quashed criminal proceedings against an accused for alleged rape on the grounds that his sexual contact with the victim was voluntary and the issue of marriage arose only after the physical relationship.

Facts of the Case:

The victim alleged that she had an affair with the accused- petitioner on the promise of marriage and by way of the same, cohabited with her for a considerable period of time.  The complainant pursued to connect with the accused when the accused abused her with derogatory and filthy language, having no other option she requested the police authorities to take action against him.  An FIR was registered by the police under Section 417 (Punishment for cheating), Section 376 (Punishment for Rape), and Section 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation) of IPC against the accused-petitioner.

Judgment Review:

The Court in the case, relied on the Supreme Court judgment in the case of Pramod Suryabhan Pawar v. State of Maharashtra (2019), wherein it was held that the consent of a woman, in regards to section 375 must involve an active and reasoned deliberation towards the proposed act. To establish whether the “consent” was vitiated by a “misconception of fact” arising out of a promise to marry, two propositions must be established. The promise of marriage must have been a false promise, given in bad faith and with no intention of being adhered to at the time it was given. The false promise itself must be of immediate relevance, or bear a direct nexus to the woman’s decision to engage in the sexual act. Accordingly, the Court quashed the proceedings against the accused. 

Click here to view the judgment

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