Del HC | Acquittal of rape accused upheld where condition precedent for proving physical relationship established on false pretext of marriage found missing

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, JJ., dismissed a criminal leave petition filed by the State against the order of the trial court whereby it had acquitted the respondent who was accused of raping the prosecutrix (victim).

The respondent was accused of committing rape on the prosecutrix. The trial court, however, acquitted the respondent concluding that from circumstances of the case, it could not be deduced conclusively that the victim was taken away by the accused by deceitful means and that the sexual relations between them were forcible. Aggrieved thereby, the State filed the instant petition.

Aashaa Tiwari, APP, appeared for the State. It was the case of the prosecution that respondent-accused established physical relationship with the prosecutrix on the false pretext of marriage.

It was noted by the High Court that the prosecutrix had admitted that she and the respondent had known each other for more than one year and they had physical relations prior to the present complaint being filed by her. It was also found that the prosecutrix had voluntarily accompanied the respondent and the allegation that the physical relations were made without her consent was not correct.

Relying on Pramod Suryabhan Pawar v. State of Maharashtra, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1073, the High Court observed: “…to establish whether “consent” was vitiated by a “misconception of fact” arising out of a promise to marry, two propositions must be established namely that the prosecution proves beyond doubt that the Respondent-accused had established sexual relations with the Prosecutrix on the basis of a false promise of marriage given in bad faith with no intention of being adhered to at the time it was given. Further, the false promise itself must be of immediate relevance, or bear a direct nexus to the Prosecutrix’s decision to engage in the sexual act.”

In the instant case, the Court also noted that the neighbours of the respondent-accused had stated that the prosecutrix and the respondent-accused had moved an application before the local SDM for registration of their marriage. Consequently, the Court was of the view that the condition precedent of the physical relationship having been established on the false pretext of marriage was not made out.

In such view of the matter, the High Court found no warrant to interfere with the order of the trial court. Accordingly, the criminal leave petition filed by the State was dismissed. [State v. Ramji Ram, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 316, decided on 20-01-2020]

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