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No false promise of marriage; Prosecutrix mature enough to foresee her actions: Supreme Court quashes the FIR alleging Rape

Case title – XXXX vs State of Madhya Pradesh & Anr

Case no. – Criminal Appeal No. 3431 OF 2023

Decided on – March 06, 2024

Quoram – Justice C.T. Ravikumar and Justice Rajesh Bindal

Facts of the case

The respondent 2/complainant, a married women had filed an FIR under Sections 376(2)(n) and 506 IPC alleging that her tenant (appellant)  maintained physical relationship with her on a promise to marry her.

The appellant in the present case filed an appeal under Section 482 Cr.P.C. for quashing the FIR against him. The High Court dismissed the petition filed by him. Subsequently, he filed an appeal before the Apex Court.

Court’s observation and analysis

Firstly, the Court noted the discrepancy in the FIR filed by the complainant and the statement recorded by her under Section 164 Cr.P.C.

In the FIR, the respondent/complainant stated that she managed her own cloth shop. As there was a dispute with her husband, she was living separately. She has a daughter aged 15 years. On 10.12.2018, she got divorce from her husband. In 2017, Sadbhav Company had taken first floor of their house on rent in which the appellant, who was working with the company, stayed. During spare time, the appellant used to meet her in the shop.

Gradually, the relations developed. The appellant proposed that in case she takes divorce, he will marry her. The complainant stated that after the divorce, on 10.01.2019, at about 11.00 PM, the appellant came to her room and had physical relations on false promise of marriage. When she insisted for marriage, he refused by saying that his family didn’t agree. Thereafter, the FIR was got recorded on 11.12.2020.

There was complete change in the stand of the complainant in her statement recorded under Section 164 Cr.P.C. The fact remains that the parties admittedly were in relations from 2017 onwards. Some alleged promise to marry came in January 2019, from where they started having physical relations. It has also come on record that it is not only the consent of the complainant which is clearly evident but also of the parents and daughter of the complainant as they were living in the same house, where allegedly the appellant and the complainant were having physical relations.

Secondly, the court observed that, in the FIR the complainant stated that she got divorce from her earlier husband on 10.12.2018. But, in the statement under Section 164 Cr.P.C., she stated that marriage between the appellant and the complainant was solemnized in a temple in January 2019. However, in actuality, the complainant obtained divorce from her husband in 2021, which reveals that the complainant re-married the appellant during subsistence of her earlier marriage.

Thirdly, on the basis of the FIR and the statement recorded, the Court inferred there was no promise to marry initially when the relationship started in the year 2017. Even on the dates when the complainant alleges that the parties had physical relations, she was already married to the appellant. The Court relied on the precedence in Naim Ahamed v. State (NCT of Delhi) and ruled that the appellant was not guilty in the instant case.

Judgement

The complainant had a child who was 15 years old and was 10 years older than the tenant. The Court pointed out that the complainant was a mature individual who could foresee her actions and take right decision.

The Court stated that she was matured and intelligent enough to understand the consequences of the moral and immoral acts for which she consented during subsistence of her earlier marriage. Therefore, the Court held that the initiation of rape proceedings against the appellant was an abuse of process of law and quashed the FIR against the appellant.

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Judgement Reviewed by – Keerthi K

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Maintaining a sexual relationship with consent from the inception is not an offence: Supreme Court

Case title: Sheikh Arif vs State of Maharashtra & Ors.

Case no.: Criminal appeal no. 1368 of 2013

Decided on: 30.01.2024

Quorum: Hon’ble Justice Abhay S. Oka, Hon’ble Justice Pankaj Mithal

 

FACTS OF THE CASE:

The current appeal is in the case of rape based on a false promise of marriage. The second respondent filed a complaint against the appellant at the Sadar Police Station in Nagpur. According to the complaint, the appellant and the second respondent first met in 2011. They became acquainted with each other and entered into a relationship. The second respondent alleges that the appellant attempted to maintain a physical relationship with her but she prevented him from doing so. However, by making a false promise of marriage, the appellant engaged in sexual intercourse with her on multiple occasions.

During sexual intercourse, she became pregnant and had an abortion. She then engaged with the appellant. For the second time, she became pregnant. The second respondent then saw photos of the appellant’s engagement ceremony with another woman on his cell phone. The second respondent stated that she was informed the day before the complaint was filed that the appellant had married another girl. The appellant claims that there was a Nikah between him and the second respondent at Dargah. The appellant’s case is that he was unable to produce the original Nikahnama, but the police seized a copy of it.

ISSUES:

Whether or not the appellant maintained a relationship based on a false promise of marriage?

LEGAL PROVISION:

According to Section 375 of the IPC, if the victim of the alleged rape is over the age of 18, having a sexual relationship with her consent is not a crime.

APPELLANTS CONTENTION:

The appellant’s learned counsel argued that their long-standing relationship with the second respondent was always consensual. He stated that the appellant married the second respondent on January 20, 2017. He argued that the appellant’s prosecution constitutes an abuse of legal process.

RESPONDENTS CONTENTION:

The State’s counter-claim stated that the report of a handwriting expert was requested in order to determine the genuineness of the signatures on the Nikahnama. The learned counsel for the second respondent contended that, even if it is assumed that the second respondent consented to the continuation of a physical relationship, this consent was tainted by fraud and misconception. She contended that, despite the Investigating Officer’s repeated requests for the appellant to produce the original Nikahnama, he failed to do so, and thus an adverse inference must be drawn against him. She urged that, in any case, the issues raised could only be addressed during the trial.

COURT ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT:

The court cited the case of Anurag Soni, which held that if the victim’s consent is based on a misconception, it is irrelevant because it is not voluntary consent. If it is established that the victim’s consent was obtained as a result of a false promise to marry, there will be no consent, and the offence of rape will be proven.

The court noted that the second respondent was admittedly older than 18 when the relationship began. It also stated that at the time the complaint was filed, the second respondent was 24 years old.

Despite the fact that the second respondent claimed it was a forced relationship, she did not file any complaints until the complaint date. According to the second respondent, the appellant and the second respondent held an engagement ceremony in July 2017. As a result, on the facts of the case, it is impossible to accept that the second respondent maintained a physical relationship with her from 2013 to 2017 based on a false promise to marry.

Now, when it comes to the Nikahnama, it is true that the original could not be produced. However, the seizure panchnama indicates that a carbon copy of the Nikahnama was taken. The police officers present at Nikah recorded the statement of one Burhanuddin. He confirmed the fact that the appellant and the second respondent performed Nikah together.

The doctor who treated the appellant and second respondent claimed that the second respondent informed her that the appellant was her husband.

Finally, the court found that the appellant’s physical relationship with the second respondent was consensual. In fact, she attended the engagement ceremony without protest. However, she denies that she married the appellant. Taking the prosecution’s case as true, it is impossible to accept that the second respondent maintained a physical relationship solely because the appellant made a promise of marriage.

As a result, the impugned judgement and order, as well as the charge sheet filed on the basis of the same, are quashed and set aside, and all future proceedings in the case are quashed.

 

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Written by – Surya Venkata Sujith

 

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Supreme Court Quashes Rape Charges, Emphasizing Accused and Complainant’s Relationship Following Forced Marriage.

Case Title: Mohd. Julfukar v. The State of Uttarakhand and Another

Case No: Criminal Appeal No. 174 of 2024

Decided on:  9th January, 2024

CORAM: THE HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE B.R. GAVAI AND HON’BLE MR.  JUSTICE SANDEEP MEHTA

Facts of the Case

The accused/appellant engaged in a relationship with the complainant against her parents’ wishes, and they chose to live together. The complainant’s father filed a Habeas Corpus Petition in the High Court, alleging that the accused had unlawfully detained his daughter and seeking a directive for her production. Subsequently, the accused and the complainant cohabited for a significant period. However, their relationship encountered discord, leading them to reside separately. Following this, the complainant lodged an FIR with the Police Station, accusing the accused of offenses under Sections 376, 377, and 506 of the Indian Penal Code.

Issue

Whether the sexual relationship between the accused and the complainant after the ‘forced’ marriage amounted to Rape?

Legal Provision

Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code defines rape as “sexual intercourse with a woman against her will, without her consent, by coercion, misrepresentation or fraud or at a time when she has been intoxicated or duped, or is of unsound mental health and in any case if she is under 18 years of age.”

Court’s analysis and decision

The Supreme Court nullified a rape case upon recognizing that the sexual involvement between the defendant and the complainant occurred subsequent to a marriage that was deemed coercive. The Court made this observation during an appeal contesting the decision of the Uttarakhand High Court, which had denied the accused’s application to dismiss the charges under Sections 376 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code.

The Bench, consisting of Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice Sandeep Mehta, stated, “It is, thus, clear from her own statement that she was forced to marry the appellant. As such, the relationship between the appellant and the complainant was after the said marriage. It could thus be seen that even if the statement made by the complainant is taken on its face value, the ingredients to constitute the offence under Section 376 IPC are not made out.”

The Court additionally stated that the complainant herself has expressed a lack of intention to pursue the legal proceedings any further. In her affidavit submitted to the Court, she conveyed that they have jointly sought a divorce, which was officially concluded through Talaq-E-Khula on September 7, 2022.

The Court further mentioned that the appellant and the complainant have amicably settled their differences and mutually opted to lead peaceful lives. Consequently, the Court deemed the ongoing criminal proceedings contrary to the interests of justice. In line with this, the Supreme Court granted the appeal, resulting in the annulment of the High Court’s order.

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Written by- Afshan Ahmad

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A Husband Can’t Be Exempted From His Duty To Maintain His Wife Just Because He Lost His Job: High Court Of Karnataka

Citation: WP No. 20801 Of 2022

Coram: Hon’ble Mr Justice M.Nagaprasanna

Decided On: 25th Day Of October, 2023

Introduction:

This writ petition is filed under articles 226 and 227 of the constitution of India praying to quash the order passed by the PRL. Judge, family court at Mysuru in m.c.145/2022 dated 03.09.2022 on I.A.II vide annexure-e. The petitioner is before this Court calling in question an order dated 03.09.2022 passed in M.C.No.145/2022 on an application filed under Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (‘the Act for short) seeking interim maintenance from the hands of the husband.

Facts:

The petitioner is the husband and the respondent is wife. The two get married on 02.03.2020. It transpires that the relationship between the husband and the wife flounders and on floundering of such relationship, the parties were before the Family Court in M.C.No.145/2022. The issue in the lis does not concern the proceedings before the concerned Court. The wife files an application under Section 24 of the Act seeking interim maintenance at the hands of the husband and also files an affidavit of assets and liabilities, as is required in law. The concerned Court grants an interim maintenance of Rs.10,000/- to the wife. It is this order that is called in question by the petitioner before this Court.

petitioner contends that the husband has lost his job and the Court comes to conclude that an amount of Rs.50,000/- is earned by the husband erroneously and therefore, in the light of him not having a job as on date cannot be directed to be paid a maintenance of sum of Rs.10,000/-, which has become difficult for him to even consider such payment.

Court’s Judgement and Analysis:

The submission of the learned counsel that the husband has lost his job and cannot be directed to pay maintenance is noted only to be rejected, as the husband being an able bodied man is expected to work and take care of the wife. Any interference of the order that is impugned would run foul of the judgment of the Apex Court in the case of Apex Court in the case of ANJU GARG AND ANOTHER Vs. DEEPAK KUMAR GARG. Considering that the petition of the husband was dismissed.

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Written by- Sushant Kumar Sharma

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Right of a Child of an Invalid Marriage in Hindu Joint Family Property: A Glimpse into the Recent Supreme Court Judgment   

INTRODUCTION 
 

In a recent landmark judgment, the Supreme Court of India, in the case of Revanasiddappa and Anr v. Mallikarjun and Ors [1], delivered a significant ruling concerning the rights of children born out of void or voidable marriages in Hindu joint family property under the Mitakshara system of law. The three-judge bench, led by Hon’ble Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, ruled that children born from such marriages are entitled to a share in the property of their deceased parents.  

This judgment marks a significant departure from previous interpretations of the Hindu Marriage Act [2] and the Hindu Succession Act [3] and has profound implications for the legal rights of such children. In this article, we will explore the implications of this judgment, the legal context surrounding it, and its impact on the Hindu joint family property system. 

 

BACKGROUND 
 

The genesis of this legal conundrum lies in the conflict of interpretations surrounding Section 16 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (HMA), which deals with the legitimacy of children born from void or voidable marriages. Section 16(1) and Section 16(2) of the HMA bestow legitimacy upon children born from void and voidable marriages, respectively. However, Section 16(3) of the same Act creates an exception, stating that such children shall not have rights in the property of any person other than their parents. 

 

The controversy surrounding this issue gained prominence due to differing opinions rendered by coordinate benches of the Supreme Court. The 2010 decision in Bharatha Matha and anr v. R Vijaya Renganathan & Ors [4] held that children born from void or voidable marriages were entitled to inherit only their father’s self-acquired property, excluding ancestral coparcenary property. However, in 2011, the Supreme Court, in an earlier round of the present appeal in Revanasiddappa vs. Mallikarjun [5], deviated from this precedent and asserted that such children have a claim to both self-acquired and ancestral property. This disagreement led to the matter being referred to a larger bench. 

 

INVALID MARRIAGES IN HINDU LAW 

 

Before delving into the implications of the recent Supreme Court judgment, it is crucial to comprehend the concept of invalid marriages in Hindu law. In Hindu law, marriage is considered a sacred union, and its validity is a crucial factor in determining the legal rights and status of the parties involved. Hindu marriages can be broadly classified into two categories: valid and invalid. 

 

Valid marriages conform to the essential conditions prescribed under Section 5 of the HMA, and other relevant legal provisions, including the consent of both parties, the absence of prohibited relationships, and compliance with necessary rituals and ceremonies. In such marriages, the offspring are generally entitled to inherit ancestral property. 

 

Invalid i.e., void or voidable marriages, under Section 11 and Section 12 of the HMA respectively, are those unions that do not meet the essential legal conditions for a valid Hindu marriage. Void marriages can occur due to various reasons, including bigamy, child marriage, prohibited degrees of relationship, marriages in violation of the sapinda relationship, non-compliance with essential rituals, or other violations of the Hindu Marriage Act. Voidable marriages, on the other hand, are marriages that can be annulled at the request of one of the parties involved due to certain legal defects or fraud. 

 

Historically, children born out of void or voidable marriages were considered illegitimate and were often denied any claim to the ancestral property of their parents’ joint Hindu family. This discriminatory practice has long been a contentious issue, prompting the Supreme Court to reevaluate the legal rights of such children. 

 

THE RECENT SUPREME COURT JUDGMENT IN REVANASIDDAPPA VS. MALLIKARJUN 

 

The case of Revanasiddappa vs. Mallikarjun [6] revolves around the rights of a child born out of an invalid marriage within a Hindu joint family setup. The primary issue before the Supreme Court was whether such a child can claim a share in the ancestral property of the Hindu joint family, even if the marriage of their parents is deemed invalid. 

 

The court recognized that the child should not be made to suffer due to the invalidity of their parents’ marriage. Denying them a share in the ancestral property would be detrimental to their welfare. The Supreme Court emphasized the legitimacy conferred upon children of void or invalid marriages by statutory provisions. The court cited Section 16(2) of the Hindu Marriage Act, which states that in the case of a voidable marriage that is subsequently annulled, a child begotten before the annulment is deemed to be legitimate. This provision extends the same rights and legitimacy under Section 16(1) to children born from marriages declared void as if they were born from valid marriages. 

 
However, it is essential to note that the Supreme Court clarified that these rights are limited to the properties of the child’s parents. In cases of invalid marriages, the man and woman do not have the status of husband and wife under Hindu law. Consequently, the child’s rights are restricted to the inheritance of their parents’ property, and they do not possess the right to claim other coparcenary shares. 

 

CONCLUSION 

 

The Supreme Court, in its wisdom, took a progressive stance and provided much-needed clarity on this contentious issue. The ruling underscores the principle that every child, regardless of the circumstances of their birth, has an inherent right to their parental property within the framework of Hindu law. The judgment has far-reaching implications and reflects a departure from the traditional interpretation of Hindu law. This decision emphasizes the principle of equality and non-discrimination enshrined in the Indian Constitution.  

 

The landmark judgment promotes social justice and seeks to rectify historical injustices that may have been perpetuated by traditional interpretations of Hindu law. It ensures that children born in complex family situations are not disadvantaged. It underscores the importance of protecting the rights of vulnerable individuals, particularly children, and ensuring their access to ancestral property. The Supreme Court judgment of 2023 is a step in the right direction, heralding a more inclusive and equitable interpretation of Hindu law in contemporary India. It underscores the principle that law cannot remain static and must adapt to contemporary understandings of family and kinship. While it brings much-needed clarity to the legal landscape, it also raises the need for continued legal education and awareness to ensure that these rights are effectively asserted and protected in practice. 

 

“PRIME LEGAL is a full-service law firm that has won a National Award and has more than 20 years of experience in an array of sectors and practice areas. Prime legal fall into a category of best law firm, best lawyer, best family lawyer, best divorce lawyer, best divorce law firm, best criminal lawyer, best criminal law firm, best consumer lawyer, best civil lawyer.” 

 

Written by – Ananya Chaudhary 

 

[1] 2023INSC783

[2] Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

[3] Hindu Succession Act, 1956

[4] (2010) 11 SCC 483

[5] (2011) 11 SCC 1

[6] 2023INSC783

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