SC quashes rape FIR as couple had consensual relations

The Supreme Court on Wednesday quashed an FIR lodged by an Assistant Commissioner of Sales Tax from Maharashtra against a deputy commandant, CRPF for rape on a false promise of marriage, saying both continued to have sexual relations, long after their marriage became a disputed matter.

The top court said that an abusive message sent by the man to the woman using WhatsApp would not constitute an offence under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, as those are not meant for public viewing.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee said those messages were alleged to have been sent on August 27 and 28, 2015 and October 22, 2015. At that time, the SC/ST Act was not amended to constitute those acts as offences in the statute.

The court noted that in the case, the complainant and the officer knew each other since 1998 and were intimate since 2004. Both met regularly, travelled great distances to meet each other, resided in each other’s houses on multiple occasions, and engaged in sexual intercourse regularly over a course of five years and on multiple occasions even visited the hospital jointly to check whether the complainant was pregnant.

On January 31, 2014, the man expressed his reservations about marrying the complainant. This led to arguments between them. Despite this, both continued to engage physically until March 2015.

“The allegations in the FIR belie the case that she was deceived by the appellant’s promise of marriage,” the bench said.

The court quashed the FIR registered on May 17, 2016, for rape and criminal breach of trust and other offences under the Atrocities Act.

With regard to WhatsApp messages sent by the appellant, the court said those were not in public view, no assault occurred, nor was the appellant in a position to dominate the will of the complainant.

“Therefore, even if the allegations set out by the complainant with respect to the WhatsApp messages and words uttered are accepted on their face, no offence is made out under the SC/ST Act as it then stood,” the bench said.

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