No rape if man fails to marry victim, says SC

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that a man cannot be held guilty of rape in a case where he maintains physical relationship with a woman and does not enter into wedlock due to “circumstances beyond his control”.

A bench of Justices B S Chauhan and Dipak Misra said a person can be convicted for rape only if the court reaches a conclusion that he had any mala fide intention.

The apex court’s ruling would help those who faced rape charges for having entered into physical relations with women on promise of marriage and their subsequent failure to walk the aisle in view of unavoidable circumstances.

 The court pointed out clear distinction between “mere breach of promise” and “not fulfilling a false promise”.

“There may be a case where the prosecutrix (victim) agrees to have sexual intercourse on account of her love and passion for the accused, and not solely on account of misrepresentation made to her by the accused, or where an accused on account of circumstances which he could not have foreseen, or which were beyond his control, was unable to marry her, despite having every intention to do so. Such cases must be treated differently.

“The court must examine whether there was made, at an early stage, a false promise of marriage by the accused and whether the consent involved was given after wholly, understanding the nature and consequences of sexual indulgence,” the bench said.

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