Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: Anuja Prabhudessai, J., examines whether on mere refusal to marry the offence of cheating be constituted under Section 417 of the Penal Code, 1860.

Additional Sessions Judge had decided that the appellant (referred to as ‘accused’) was guilty of offences punishable under Section 417 of the Penal Code, 1860.

Instant appeal was filed against the above-stated decision.

Prosecutrix had lodged an FIR alleging that the accused had sexual relationship with her with the promise of marriage and he subsequently declined to marry her. Crime against the accused was registered under Sections 376 and 417 of the IPC.

Analysis, Law and Decision

High Court noted that the prosecutrix was known to the accused and had a sexual relationship for over about 3 years.

Evidence on record revealed that the sexual relationship between the prosecutrix and the accused was consensual.

The accused had been held guilty of the offence under Section 417 IPC solely for the reason that he refused to marry the prosecutrix, hence the question that arose was whether in such circumstances refusal to marry would constitute the offence of cheating?

In the Supreme Court decision of Maheshwar Tigga v. State of Jharkhand, (2020) 10 SCC 108, it was examined whether the prosecutrix had consented to the physical relationship under any misconception of fact with regard to promise of marriage or whether her consent was based on fraudulent misrepresentation of marriage. The Supreme Court has held that under Section 90 of IPC a consent given under a misconception of fact is no consent in the eye of the law. But the misconception of fact has to be in proximity of time to the occurrence and cannot be spread over a period of four years.

High Court stated that the evidence of the prosecutrix did not indicate that she had sexual relationship with the accused under the misconception of fact, with regard to the promise of marriage or that her consent was based on fraudulent misrepresentation of marriage.

Elaborating further, the Bench also noted that there was no evidence to prove that the prosecutrix had consented for physical relationship on a misconception of fact, as stipulated under Section 90 IPC, there mere refusal to marry would not constitute offence under Section 417 IPC.

Therefore, the impugned judgment could not be sustained in view of the above discussion and the appeal was allowed. [Kashinath Narayan Gharat v. State of Maharashtra, 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 5910, decided on 9-12-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

Ms Vrishali Raje for the Appellant.

Mr. S.V. Gavand, APP for Respondent -State

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: Sandeep K. Shinde, J., granted anticipatory bail to a constable accused of rape and other offences as detailed below.

Instant anticipatory bail application was filed in crime registered under Sections 376(2)(n), 354(5), 417, 419, 427, 504, 506(2), 502 of the Penal Code, 1860 read with Section 66(C) of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Applicant was attached to constabulary cadre of the Maharashtra Police and was serving at the traffic Department, Malabar Hill, Mumbai.

Complainant developed a close friendship with the applicant after being deployed and the same took the form of a love affair. Later, the complainant alleged that the applicant had suppressed his marital status.

Though the complainant alleged, the applicant had informed her, his wife was psychologically unwell and hence he desired to divorce his wife. Further, in the year 2018, the applicant borrowed money from the complainant from time to time and when she demanded her own money from him, he abused her.

Applicant on the false promise of marriage persuaded the complainant to succumb to physical desires at various places and hotels.

It was also alleged that the applicant had recorded her obscene videos and was threatening to upload the same on social media and disseminate the same to her relatives if she refused to maintain the relationship with him.

Applicant damaged the complainant’s cell phone to cause disappearance of the evidence.

After such incidents, complainant disclosed everything to applicant’s wife. She also added that her proposed marriage broke down, since the applicant sent some objectionable messages to the sister of her fiancé.

Decision

Bench stated that on taking into consideration the facts of the case, prima facie opined that since he has been suspended from service and is available for investigation, a case for granting interim-pre-arrest protection was made.

High Court directed the investigating officer to place the reports for further consideration on 19-07-2021.

Lastly, the Court added that the applicant shall join the investigation as and when called and shall not contact the complainant or influence prosecution witnesses. [Madhav Krishna Vasave v. State of Maharashtra, 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 833, decided on 4-06-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

Mr. S.R. Nargolkar i/by Shri Arjun Kadam for the Applicant.

Ms. P.P.Shinde, APP for the Respondent-State.

Mr. Shrikant S. Rathi for the Complainant/Intervenor.

Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu and Kashmir High Court: Sanjay Dhar J., while allowing the present bail application, observed that given to the relationship shared between the prosecutrix and the petitioner, it cannot be determined at once whether physical relationship built therein was forced or consensual.

Through the present application, petitioner-accused has sought bail in the case arising out of an offence under Section 376 Penal Code, 1860 registered with Police Station, Katra. It is the case of prosecutrix that the petitioner cohabited and thereby developed physical relation with her on a false pretext of marriage. Upon coming to know that the petitioner is to enter into a wedlock with some other woman, the prosecutrix narrated the entire incident to her mother upon which a complaint under Section 376 IPC was registered against the petitioner. According to the petitioner, the allegations made in the FIR are vexatious and baseless and that no offence under Section 376 IPC is made out against him as even if it is assumed that there was any physical relationship between the petitioner and the prosecutrix, the same was consensual. Further, the petitioner has denied having made any false promise of marriage to the prosecutrix.

Court summarized the principles governing the grant or refusal of bail in the following points;

  1. The gravity of the offence and the nature of the accusation including severity of punishment in the case of conviction.
  2. The position and status of the accused vis-à-vis the victims or witnesses.
  3. The likelihood of the accused fleeing from justice.
  4. The possibility of the accused tampering with the evidence and/or witnesses and obstructing the course of justice.
  5. The possibility of repetition of the offence.
  6. The prima facie satisfaction of the Court in support of the charge including frivolity of the charge.
  7. Stage of the investigation.
  8. Larger interest of the public or the State.

Further, the Court placed reliance on the case of, Mahipal v. Rajesh Kumar and another, (2020) 2 SCC 118, wherein it was said, “…No straight jacket formula exists for courts to assess an application for the grant or rejection of bail. At the stage of assessing whether a case is fit for the grant of bail, the court is not required to enter into a detailed analysis of the evidence on record to establish beyond reasonable doubt the commission of the crime by the accused. That is a matter for trial. However, the Court is required to examine whether there is a prima facie or reasonable ground to believe that the accused had committed the offence and on a balance of the considerations involved, the continued custody of the accused sub-serves the purpose of the criminal justice system.”

 Another case bearing similar facts was cited by the Court, Uday v. State of Karnataka, (2003) 4 SCC 46, wherein the Supreme Court observed,

It usually happens in such cases, when two young persons are madly in love, that they promise to each other several times that come what may, they will get married. As stated by the prosecutrix the appellant also made such a promise on more than one occasion. In such circumstances, the promise loses all significance, particularly when they are over come with emotions and passion and find themselves in situations and circumstances where they, in a weak moment, succumb to the temptation of having sexual relationship. This is what appears to have happened in this case as well, and the prosecutrix willingly consented to having sexual intercourse with the appellant with whom she was deeply in love, not because he promised to marry her, but because she also desired it. In these circumstances, it would be very difficult to impute to the appellant knowledge that the prosecutrix had consented in consequence of a misconception of fact arising from his promise. In any event, it was not possible for the appellant to know what was in the mind of the prosecutrix when she consented, because there were more reasons than one for her to consent

It was conclusively observed by the Court,

“The mystery that has to be unravelled by the investigating agency in such circumstances would be whether the consent of the prosecutrix to have sexual intercourse with petitioner was a consensual and deliberate choice on her part or it was obtained on account of misconception of fact on the basis of a false promise of marriage. This Court would not like to comment on this aspect of the matter at this stage, but then the material on record does suggest that there was deep-seated love between the petitioner and the prosecutrix.”

While allowing the present bail application Court said,

“Having regard to the long standing love affair between the prosecutrix and the petitioner coupled with the manner in which they have lived with each other for months together, a prima facie case for grant of bail is made out.”  [Rahul Raina v. Union Territory J&K, 2021 SCC OnLine J&K 13, decided on 27-01-2021]


Sakshi Shukla, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: M.G. Sewikar, J., denied bail to the applicant accused of deceiving the prosecutrix by giving false promise of marriage who submitted herself for sexual intercourse based on the misconception of facts.

The present application was filed for grant of anticipatory bail for offences registered under Sections 376, 417, 323, 504, 506 of the Penal Code, 1860.

Informant aged 20 years used to go for labour work at a poultry farm, where she got acquainted with the applicant and promised to marry her.

Applicant had sexual intercourse with the informant twice under the promise of marriage.

About 2 months before the filing of the FIR, the applicant called her and demanded sexual favour from the informant, but she denied on the pretext getting married. Applicant got enraged and beat her.

Later, the informant learnt that the applicant was already married.

Counsel for the applicant, R.S. Shinde and V.S. Badakh, APP for the State.

From the FIR filed, it is apparent that the prosecutrix gave consent for the sexual intercourse as the applicant promised to marry her. 

Question to be determined:

Whether the consent of the prosecutrix was a voluntary consent or it was a consent-based on the misconception of facts?

In case of rape under Section 376 of the Penal Code, more particularly, in cases where consent is obtained by giving false promise of marriage, it has to be ascertained whether the accused did not have the intention to marry the prosecutirx right from the inception.

For the above-stated aspect on the matter, the law was settled.

Section 90 of the Penal Code, 1860 talks about “Consent known to be given under fear or misconception” and the essential requirement for that is, the same must have been obtained under the misconception of fact and the accused must be aware that the consent was given in consequence of such fear or misconception.

Court observes that, investigation papers do not reveal that the prosecutrix had the knowledge that the accused was a married man before submitting herself for sexual intercourse. If she had submitted herself for sexual intercourse with full knowledge that the applicant was a married man, the consent would not be vitiated.

In view of Section 5(i) of the Hindu Marriage Act, a person cannot contract second marriage if his or her spouse is living.

In view of the above-stated provision, the applicant could not have legally married the prosecutrix during the subsistence of his marriage.

Further, the Court stated that the accused had knowledge that he would not be able to marry the prosecutrix as long as his marriage is subsisting. This fact clearly shows that the applicant had the intention to deceive the prosecutrix by giving false promise of marriage. Therefore, the consent given by the prosecutrix is vitiated because of the concealment of material fact by the accused from her.

Hence, in view of the above-stated facts, the applicant is not entitled to be released.[Siddharth Ramkrishna Chitte v. State of Maharashtra, 2020 SCC OnLine Bom 864, decided on 26-06-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: Krishna S. Dixit, J., granted anticipatory bail to the petitioner accused of committing sexual offence.

Petitioner was accused for the offences under Sections 376, 420 and 506 of Penal Code, 1860 and Section 66-B of Information Technology Act, 2000 and by the present petition seeks bail.

State while opposing the petition submitted that the offences alleged against the petitioner are serious in nature and it would be unsafe for the society if offenders like petitioner is granted bail.

Thus in view of the above Judge of the lower Court had rejected his claim.

Bench on perusal of the petition papers and on consideration of the contentions submitted by the counsels granted anticipatory bail for the following reasons:

  • seriousness alone is not the criteria to deny liberty to the citizen when there is no prima facie case from the side of the State Police;
  • version of the complainant that she was subjected to rape on the false promise of marriage in the given circumstances of the case, is bit difficult to believe at this stage; there is a letter allegedly written by the complainant to the effect that she was ready to withdraw the complaint if a compromise is brought about, especially when the complainant had employed the services of the petitioner since last two years or so; nothing is stated by the complainant as to why she did not approach the Court at the earliest point of time when the petitioner was allegedly forcing her for sexual favours;
  • nothing is mentioned by the complainant as to why she went to her office at night ie., 11.00 p.m.; she has also not objected to consuming drinks with the petitioner and allowing him to stay with her till morning; the explanation offered by the complainant that after the perpetration of the act she was tired and fell asleep, is unbecoming of an Indian woman; that is not the way our women react when they are ravished;
  • version of the complainant that she had been to Indraprastha Hotel for dinner and that the petitioner having consumed drinks came and sat in the car, even if is assumed to be true, there is no explanation offered for not alerting the police or the public about the conduct of the petitioner

Thus in view of the above, petitioner was granted bail. [Sri Rakesh v. State of Karnataka, Criminal Petition No. 2427 of 2020, decided on 22-06-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: A Division Bench of Sunil B. Shukre and Madhav J. Jamdar, JJ., dismissed the criminal application filed with regard to quashing of an FIR registered for an offence punishable under Section 376(2) (n) [Punishment for Rape] of Penal Code, 1860.

Background

Applicant had exclusively expressed his love for respondent 2 seduced her into having a sexual relationship with him and did have sexual intercourse on many occasions. The affair that was going clandestinely between applicant and respondent 2 got exposed when one Sheikh Biram who as described by respondent 2 is her servant saw what was going on between applicant and respondent 2. He later threatened to disclose the same to the mother of respondent 2, and when the same happened applicant gave an express promise of marriage to respondent 2 but did not fulfil the same.

Applicant’s counsel M. Badar, submitted that in such matters Court should take the allegations at their face value and without adding anything thereto or subtracting anything therefrom, should consider if the allegations disclose the commission of any offence by the accused. Further, he relied on the Supreme Court’s decision in Dhruvaram Murlidhar Sonar v. State of Maharashtra, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 3100.

Further, the Counsel adds that, there was no promise of marriage given by the applicant to the respondent at any point of time and hence no question of any breach of promise. He states that whatever happened was consensual in nature.

If allegations made by respondent 2 against the applicant are considered at their face value, a prima facie impression is created that respondent 2 agreed to have sexual relation with the applicant only upon her believing as love expressed by the applicant for respondent 2 to be genuine.

It is a case wherein the temptation to enter into such relationship was given by applicant to respondent 2 and respondent 2 was initially unwilling to fall prey to the advances made towards hereby the applicant. Misconception had been created not because of giving a false promise of marriage but because of giving false assurance to respondent 2 that applicant had his genuine and exclusive love and whenever time would come, would support her wholeheartedly.

In Supreme Court’s decision of Dhruvaram Murlidhar Sonar v. State of Maharashtra, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 3100, the distinction between rape and consensual sex was talked about,

“… Court, in such cases, must very carefully examine whether the complainant had actually wanted to marry the victim or had mala fide motives and had made a false promise to this effect only to satisfy his lust, as the later falls within the ambit of cheating or deception.”

“…to have sexual intercourse on account of her love and passion for the accused and not solely on

account of the misconception created by accused, or where an accused, on account of circumstances which he could not have foreseen or which were beyond his control, was unable to marry her despite having every intention to do. Such cases must be treated differently.”

“If the complainant had any mala fide intention and if he had clandestine motives, it is a clear case of rape.”

Thus, in the present case, prima facie, malafide intention and clandestine motive of the applicant could be seen by his attempt to seduce respondent 2 into having a sexual relationship with him when he, in spite of her reluctance expressed initially, gave such an assurance as was sufficient to misconceive it as genuine.

Supreme Court’s decision of Dhruvaram Murlidhar Sonar v. State of Maharashtra, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 3100 assists respondent 2 rightly in the present case.

Therefore, in view of the above Court found no merit in the application and dismissed the same. [Mohammed Aamir Ansari v. State of Maharashtra, 2020 SCC OnLine Bom 320, decided on 12-02-2020]