The Orissa High Court has set aside a lower court order that had not granted bail to a person accused of committing rape as it felt that it was apparently ‘erroneous’ to hold that false promise of marriage-induced sexual intercourse amounts to such crime.
Accused G Achyut Kumar had moved the High Court after the Court of Sessions-cum-Special Judge, Koraput-Jeypore rejected his bail plea. While granting him bail on Thursday, Justice SK Panigrahi said,
The factual matrix of the case is based on a prima facie view based on records as so many aspects of the matter are hungry for a thorough trial and till that time, the benefit of bail deserves to be passed on to the appellant.
The man alleged that 19-year-old girl had lodged a complaint against him at Patangi police station in Koraput district. She had charged Kumar with rape with a promise to marry her and also taking advantage of her innocence. The girl also accused Kumar of establishing sexual relationship with her and made her pregnant twice. On both the occasions, he had terminated her pregnancy by administering medicine. Acting on it, police had booked him for committing rape under section 376 of IPC.
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In his judgment, Justice Panigrahi said holding that false promise to marriage amounts to rape appears to be ‘erroneous’ as the ingredients of rape codified under section 375 of IPC (repeat section 375) do not cover the false promise of marriage-induced sexual intercourse.
Justice Panigrahi said,
The intention of law makers is clear on this issue. The rape laws should not be used to regulate intimate relationships, especially in the cases where women have agency and are entering a relationship by choice.
Adding further the judge said,
The definition of rape as codified in Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code wherein rape has been defined as certain sexual acts when committed on a victim, falling under any of the seven descriptions:
Against her will
Without her consent
With her consent, when consent has been obtained under fear of death or hurt
Where consent has been given by the victim in the wrong belief that the man is her husband
When the consent is given when she is of unsound mind or intoxicated and unable to understand the nature of consequences of what she is consenting
Consent from a girl under the age of 18 years
When she is not in a position to communicate the consent
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The judgement also read,
It is also equally disturbing, many of the complaints come from socially disadvantaged and poor segment of the society, rural areas, who are often lured into sex by men on false promises of marriage and then dumped as soon as they get pregnant. The rape law often fails to capture their plight.
Concluding the matter, court said,
It is an undeniable fact that our society is still largely conservative when it comes to matters of sex and sexuality. Virginity is a prized element. Even if such relationship existed, though it is unequivocally denied by the accused, a consensual relationship without even any assurance obviously will not attract the offence under Section 376 of the Indian penal code.
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