Bombay HC Grants Relief to Man Accused of Rape, Citing Broken Promise Rather Than False Promise

LI Network

Published on: 7 August 2023 at 14:58 IST

The Bombay High Court has recently acquitted a man who was accused of rape, reversing the decision of the trial court that had previously rejected his plea.

The case hinged on the allegation that the accused had made false promises of marriage to the victim, leading to her alleged consent under misleading pretenses.

In the High Court, the accused’s legal counsel invoked a Supreme Court ruling that played a pivotal role in the dismissal of charges against him.

The Supreme Court precedent in question asserted that if a promise to marry is made with the intention of deceiving a woman into engaging in sexual relations rather than genuinely committing to marriage, the resulting consent is rendered invalid due to a “misconception of fact.”

In contrast, a mere breach of a promise does not qualify as a false promise. To categorize a promise as false, it is necessary for the promise-maker to have harbored no intention of fulfilling the promise at the time it was given.

The accused’s lawyer highlighted this precedent to support his client’s case, contending that it aligned with the circumstances of the matter.

The lawyer, Lokesh Zade, argued that the parties involved had exchanged a marriage proposal and even held a family meeting. During the period between July 2014 and November 2014, they engaged in a relationship that was consensual and devoid of coercion.

Zade emphasized that there had been no false promise made to the complainant.

Justice P D Naik, who approved the plea for discharge, is expected to provide a detailed explanation of the decision in due course.

In the initial proceedings, the special trial court, on August 3, 2019, had rejected the accused’s request for discharge, asserting that there existed sufficient grounds for trial.

The complainant had alleged that she had met the accused through a mutual family friend in June 2014 for a marriage proposal. She claimed that after receiving his mother’s consent for the marriage in July, she began meeting him.

However, the sexual encounters were purportedly facilitated through the accused’s promises of marriage, intimidation, and verbal abuse, which negated genuine consent.

The accused vehemently denied all allegations of force or deceit.

The trial court, while unconvinced by his defense, concluded that the prosecution’s case was compelling enough to warrant the framing of charges against him.

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