The Supreme Court has ruled that if a woman continues to be in a physical relationship with a man, despite being unsure of marriage, she cannot accuse him of rape on the grounds that he made a false promise of marriage to her.

KEY TAKEAWAYS ROM THE SC RULING:

  •  A woman cannot accuse a man of rape if she has sex in spite of being unsure about marriage. 
  • The false promise of marriage should be of immediate relevance. 
  • There’s a difference between a false promise made intentionally and the one that couldn’t be fulfilled due to circumstances.
  • A false promise is one where the man lies only to engage the woman in a sexual relationship, without any intention of marrying her.

The SC gave this verdict in a rape case which was lodged by an assistant commissioner of sales tax against a deputy commandant of CRPF. According to Times Of India, they were in a relationship for around six years and also lived in each other’s houses on different occasions, which showed that they were in a consensual relationship. The judgment by Justices D Y Chandrdachud and Indira Bannerjee quashed the rape case filed by the officer.

Read More: Sex Between Live-In Partners Not Rape If Man Doesn’t Marry: SC

False Promise Of Marriage Must Be Of Immediate Relevance

A breach of a promise cannot be said to be a false promise. To establish a false promise, the maker of the promise should have had no intention of upholding his word at the time of giving it.- Supreme Court

The bench ruled that the false promise of marriage must be of immediate relevance or should bear a direct nexus to the woman’s decision to engage in the sexual act. The bench also said that there is a distinction between a false promise given on the understanding by the maker and the breach of a promise made in good faith but ultimately not fulfilled due to circumstances.

Read More: How True Is The “Menace” Of False Rape Cases In India?

The Case

The complainant said that she knew the CRPF commander since 1998 and that he had forcibly established a sexual relationship with her in 2008, on the promise to marry her. Their relationship then continued till 2016, when the CRPF commander informed her that he is now engaged. During their relationship in this duration, they both visited each other’s house and also used to stay together. In 2014, the commander had raised concerns regarding their marriage on the basis of her caste. But they continued to be in a relationship. The woman filed FIR against him in 2016 when he told her about his engagement.

An assistant commissioner of sales tax had filed a rape case against a deputy commandant of CRPF. They were in a relationship for around 6 years and also lived in each other’s houses on different occasions.

“Where the promise to marry is false and the intention of the maker at the time of making the promise itself was not to abide by it but to deceive the woman to convince her to engage in sexual relations, there is a misconception of the fact that vitiates the woman’s consent. On the other hand, a breach of a promise cannot be said to be a false promise. To establish a false promise, the maker of the promise should have had no intention of upholding his word at the time of giving it,” ruled the Supreme  Court bench.

In April this year, SC had ruled that sex on pretext of marriage is rape. It also said that even if the accused and the survivor have settled back into their lives separately, the crime does not become null and void. It noted that such incidents are on a rise these days and rape offends a woman’s dignity and esteem. “It tantamounts to a serious blow to the supreme honor of a woman and offends both her esteem and dignity,” said the bench. Also in May this year,the Rajasthan HC had ruled that a live-in relationship in Indian society amounts to marriage.

Image Credit: The Indian Express

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