Published on: 22 November2022 at 22:34 IST
The Calcutta High Court declined to overturn criminal charges brought against a judge who was accused of raping a litigant while making a fake promise to wed her.
Due to the existence of a prima facie case against the magistrate for the claimed offences, the single bench of Justice Shampa Dutt refused to dismiss the proceedings against him. It stated that the issue of whether the petitioner acted in bad faith will be resolved only at the trial phase.
The petitioner in this case, a member of the WB Judicial Service who at the time held the position of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, allegedly had sexual relations with the complainant while promising to marry her after the resolution of her divorce case.
At the time, the complainant’s matrimonial dispute was in front of the petitioner. The allegedly made commitment was later broken.
The High Court noted in this context, noted that, “In this case, the criminal proceedings are founded on trust. The petitioner, who held a significant position in the judiciary, received the complainant’s faith and belief.”
“The complainant put her trust in the petitioner since she was in a position of authority (the petitioner was handling the complainant’s case), and she continued their relationship because of this assurance, hoping that it would lead to marriage.”
The charge sheet filed against him under Sections 376, 417, 506, 166, and 120B of the IPC was the subject of the petitioner’s challenge to CJM Tamluk’s order.
The complainant claimed that she filed for divorce after filing a complaint against her husband in 2014 under Section 498A of the IPC. She first met the magistrate-accused, who was hearing the woman and her husband’s divorce procedures, when the divorce proceedings were still pending.
The complainant said that the accused magistrate had obtained her mobile number, called her, and promised to marry her upon the completion of her divorce. In addition to promising to take care of the complainant and her son from her marriage, he had requested her to wait until her divorce.
She added that the accused had multiple instances of engaging in personal contact with her, used to transfer money from her account, and had even taken her to his place. However, following the conclusion of her divorce, the petitioner broke his word, withdrew from her, and made death threats against both her and her son.
Before the High Court, the complainant made the claim that the petitioner had abused his position of power to take advantage of her. She claimed that there was enough evidence against the petitioner, including multiple SMS texts that the investigating officer had gathered. She claimed that the revision petition was therefore likely to be denied.
On the other side, the petitioner-accused-magistrate contended that the CJM who took charge of the matter did not utilise his judgement. He contended that if a woman continued having physical intercourse with a man notwithstanding the uncertainty of marriage, she could not assert that she was raped on a false promise of marriage.
Additionally, he claimed that having intercourse with a false promise to get married did not constitute rape. Additionally, he claimed that he had never made the complainant continue their physical relationship. He asserted that no elements of the purported offences were established, and as a result, the cognizance was illegally granted.
“It is determined that the investigation in this case was thorough and that significant/incriminating evidence has been gathered by the investigating officer, including SMS, Messages, statements recorded under Section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Code, and specifics of places where the complainant and the petitioner had a physical relationship…”
“..there is substance in the allegations and material exists to prima facie make out the applicant/complicity petitioner’s in a cognizable offence, which is triable.”