Jharkhand HC Clears false allegations against Accused on Grounds of Consensual Relationship with Deceased Sister-in-Law

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Published on: 18 September 2023 at 17:14 IST

The Jharkhand High Court withdraws false allegations against accused for raping his widowed sister-in-law, contending that he falsely promised marriage to her.

The court ruled in favor of the accused, asserting that the prosecutrix, a legally married adult, was well aware of the implications of her long-standing relationship with her brother-in-law.

Justice Subhash Chand noted that the evidence presented did not substantiate the victim’s claim that her consent was obtained through deceit.

“Undoubtedly, the victim was of legal age and married; she was fully cognizant of engaging in sexual relations with her brother-in-law. Given that she willingly maintained a sexual relationship with the petitioner for six years, her consent cannot be deemed to have been procured under deception, as per Section 90 of the Indian Penal Code. As a mature, married woman, she was well aware of the consequences of engaging in sexual relations outside of wedlock. The allegations in the FIR do not suggest that her consent was secured through fraudulent means,” noted Justice Subhash Chand.

The case stemmed from a Criminal Revision filed by the petitioner against the trial court’s refusal to grant his discharge petition, filed under Section 227 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The case centered on allegations made by the victim, who asserted that following her husband’s death, her late spouse’s younger brother, the accused, took on her care. Over time, she claimed he engaged in a romantic relationship with her, promising marriage but eventually engaging in sexual misconduct for a period of six years.

The victim became pregnant twice during this time, with both pregnancies ending in abortions. She maintained that she was deceived by the accused’s false marriage promise, which he later reneged on.

Considering the allegations outlined in the FIR and supported by statements from the victim and witnesses, the Court had to decide whether the accused could be charged under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code for the alleged offense.

The Court observed that “in view of the allegations made in the FIR and the evidence collected by the Investigating Officer,” along with established legal principles, “the allegations in the FIR do not support the claim that the victim was deceived by the petitioner into marriage.” In light of the overall circumstances and allegations presented, no offense under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code was deemed to have occurred.

The Court also addressed the petitioner’s argument that the Criminal Revision had become irrelevant after the charge was framed and the trial had begun. It rejected this claim, emphasizing that the Revision remained valid.

Consequently, based on the allegations in the FIR and the evidence gathered, the Court concluded that there were insufficient grounds to establish the offense under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, which carries punishment under Section 376 of IPC.

Also Read: Section 377 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Law Insider India

As a result, the previous order was overturned, and the Criminal Revision was allowed, leading to the petitioner’s discharge from charges under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code.

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