Sexual intercourse in 8-year relationship can’t be rape: SC

A woman who had an affair and maintained sexual relationship with a man cannot claim rape after eight years, the Supreme Court has said.

A woman who had an affair and maintained a sexual relationship with a man cannot claim rape after eight years, the Supreme Court has said.

Quashing criminal proceedings against a Bengaluru man — Shivashankar alias Shiva — a Supreme Court bench of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao said it was difficult to regard sexual intercourse happening in a relationship for eight years as rape.

The court also pointed to the statement of the 37-year-old woman that they have lived together as man and wife.

The woman had claimed that the 39-year-old man had pretended to be in love with her and had promised to marry her. In her complaint with the Vijayanagar police station in 2014, she said the man applied kumkum to her forehead and tied the ‘Arishina’’ thread to her neck (signs that he married her).

She further stated that she had been treating the appellant as her husband for the past eight years, but now he is trying to break free from her and cheat her.

“Though we are not here concerned with the question whether the appellant and the complainant were, in fact, married, we have no doubt that they lived together like a married couple even according to the complainant,” the apex court bench said.

“In the facts and circumstances of the present case, it is difficult to sustain the (rape) charges levelled against the appellant who may have possibly, made a false promise of marriage to the complainant,” it added. The court allowed an appeal filed by Shiva, represented by senior advocate K T S Tulsi, against the September 22, 2016 Karnataka High Court order and set aside proceedings against him for cheating, rape and criminal intimidation before Bengaluru’s court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate.

Rejecting Shiva’s plea, the High Court had said it was a settled law when a man promises marriage and had a sexual relationship, and if it was established that he had no intentions of marrying the woman from the inception, then the sex would be construed as rape. 

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