The Allahabad high court on Tuesday stated that the legislature must give a clear and precise legislative framework to deal with cases where the accused obtains consent for sexual intercourse on the false promise of marriage.
The high court quoted,
This feudal mindset and male chauvinism that women are nothing but an object of enjoyment is required to be rigorously addressed and strictly dealt with in order to create a healthier society and to increase a sense of security and to increase a sense of security and protection in the mind of women.
Harshvardhan Yadav, the accused who is currently in jail, had filed a criminal appeal against the lower court’s rejection of his bail application. Yadav has been charged under:
- Section 376 (rape) IPC
- Section 3(2)5 of the SC/ST Act
The victim in this case is a police constable and belongs to scheduled caste. According to her attorney, the accused called her to a hotel room to formalise their marriage and prepare documents relating to it. However, the victim alleged that instead of preparing the documents, the accused allegedly raped her.
She then filed a FIR on the same day, and gave her testimony to the investigation officer (IO) under Section 161 and the magistrate under Section 164 of the criminal procedure code.
Allahabad High Court
The court remarked that making a false promise of marriage with the goal to deceive the victim has becoming increasingly common, and that the accused parties largely assume, that they would be immune from criminal culpability and punishment in such circumstances. Justice Pradeep Kumar Srivastava stated,
For the major women population in our society, promise of marriage is a great allurement and they are trapped in a situation which results in their sexual abuse and exploitation.
Furthermore, the court also said that until such a legislation is passed, the court should consider the social realities and reality of human life in order to continue providing protection to women who have suffered as a result of a false marriage vow.
The case involved a single act of sexual intercourse, according to the court, and the FIR was filed on the same day. The high court ruled that the 17-hour wait in filing the FIR was negligible, acknowledging that it was natural for the woman to take this long to decide whether file a complaint against someone she was about to marry.
The court noted that the victim was in love and that there was a indeed a family obstacle in their marriage, as stated by the accused, and thus she went to the hotel because the appellant urged her to come for a chat about document preparation for a court marriage.
While rejecting the bail application, the court noted that the accused never truly wanted to marry the victim and had ulterior motives, and that he had made a false promise to marry only to satisfy his lust. The court added that this clearly falls within the realm of cheating and deception to obtain consent for sex.
The court further stated,
Needless to mention that false marriage promise is and always, in the major part of our society, has been an effective tool of mischievous males for creating emotional pressure on women for doing sex.
The court concluded by saying
Obtaining consent for sexual relationship by false promise of marriage should be termed as consent given under misconception of fact and must amount to rape. The court cannot become a silent spectator and give licence to those who are trying to exploit the innocent girls and have sexual intercourse with them on the pretext of a false promise of marriage.
Author: Shreya Bhandari is a 3rd year Bachelors of Journalism student and currently working as an intern with MDO.
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