The Supreme Court on Monday acquitted a man from rape charges in a 20-year-old case. The top court said that no woman, after going through sexual assault at knife-point would write affectionate love letters to the accused and wilfully be in a live-in relationship for four years.
The man was initially convicted by the trial court as well as the Jharkhand High Court.
The woman argued in the court that she kept quiet for four years from the date of sexual assault as the man promised to marry her. She also specified that their families had got them engaged. Speaking about their alleged relationship, the complainant said that they both lived like “husband and wife”.
However, after she came to know about that the man was getting married to another woman, she had filed the FIR accusing him of rape and cheating.
The bench of Justices R F Nariman, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee raised their first doubt in the case when the woman presented a misleading version of her age at the time of the alleged sexual assault in 1995.
She claimed herself to be 13-years back then, however, it was found that at the time of lodging the FIR in 1999, just a few days before the man was getting married to another woman, she was 25-years of age as per medical opinion.
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The bench learnt through evidence found that the alleged accused and the complainant belonged to different religions. Hence, this was one of the main reasons for the restriction of commemorating the marriage. The girl’s family wished the wedding to take place at a church, while on the other hand, the boy’s family wanted the ceremony to happen at a temple.
Justice Sinha in the judgement said,
The man belonged to the Schedules Tribe while the woman belonged to the Christian community. They professed different religious beliefs in a traditional society. They resided in the same village Basjadi and were known to each other. The nature and manner of allegations, coupled with the letters exchanged between them, make it apparent that their love for each other grew and matured over a sufficient period of time.
He further continued,
They were both smitten by each other and passions of youth ruled over their minds and emotions. The physical relations that followed were not isolated or sporadic in nature, but regular over the years. The woman had even gone and resided in the man’s house. In our opinion, the delay of four years in lodging the FIR, at an opportune time of seven days prior to the man solemnising his marriage with another girl, on the pretext of a promise to the prosecutrix raises serious doubts the truth and veracity of the allegations levelled by the complainant.
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The bench added,
She was conscious of this (religious) obstacle all along, even while she continued to establish physical relations with the man. If he had married her, she would not have lodged the case. She denied having written any letters to him, contrary to the evidence placed on record by the defence. The amorous language used by both in letters exchanged reflects that the man was serious about the relationship.
Clearing the man from all allegations made alleged on him, the bench concluded,
It is not possible to hold, on the basis of evidence available, that the man right from the inception did not intend to marry her ever and had fraudulently misrepresented only in order to establish physical relations with her. The woman in her letters acknowledged that the man’s family was always very nice to her.
The man was set free from all charges after twenty-one years.
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