July 24, 2010

Times of India

Sex after false promise of marriage doesn’t amount to rape’

Nagpur: The Nagpur bench of the Bombay HC has ruled that sexual relationship with a woman after making false promises of marriage does not amount to rape, and acquitted a man from offences of raping a girl.

A single-judge bench of Justice Ambadas Joshi observed that “sexual relationship under a mistaken belief and hence a rape, as developed in the process of trial, does not stand in the eye of law”. It set aside the Yavatmal sessions court’s order that convicted Sandip Rathod (now 42) under Section 376 of raping a girl allegedly 16 years old in 1996. The HC also said the victim’s age has been proved to be around 18 when the incident occurred.

Rathod, then 30 years old, was serving at a forest office near Mala’s (name changed) home. He developed sexual relations with her and promised to marry her. Mala informed her parents when she became pregnant and Rathod was arrested on her parents’ complaint.

Charged with repeatedly having sexual relations with an “underaged’’ Mala on and before November 11, 1996, the sessions court sentenced him to 10-year rigorous imprisonment. Two years later, the accused, a Yavatmal resident, challenged the conviction in the high court. The bench cited the Supreme Court and other rulings while acquitting him.


Supreme Court
Oct 5, 2006: A bench of Justices A K Mathur and Altamas Kabir held that having sexual intercourse with a girl with her consent obtained through fraud, coercion or on promise of marriage amounts to rape
Aug 29, 2007: A bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and D K Jain said a man having sex with a girl after obtaining her consent on the promise of a marriage does not necessarily constitute rape even if he retracts on his pledge

High Court

February 1, 2010: The Delhi HC held that having sex with a girl on the promise of marriage and later refusing to tie the knot on flimsy grounds amounts to rape
July 17, 2010: The Bombay high court upheld the acquittal of a man who was charged with having sexual relations with a woman after making a false promise of marriage


Supreme Court paves the way for rape convict to join IAS

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal from the National Commission for Women (NCW) challenging a high court verdict that reduced life term of a rape convict to five-and-a-half years to pave the way for him to join the civil services.

Thus, Ashok Rai, who raped a 21-year old student that prompted her to commit suicide in 2003, can now stake claim for IAS or IPS, provided Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) rules don’t have any reservations on accepting candidates with a tainted past.

The top court also handed a setback to NCW, which had filed the challenging the Delhi high court verdict on Rai. SC said it (NCW) had no legal right to file an appeal in a criminal case.

Delhi government has already told the court that it does not agree with the high court. In February last year, HC had slashed Rai’s sentence to five-and-a-half years, saying he had had “redeemed himself in jail” by qualifying for the UPSC examination.

Dismissing NCW’s appeal, a bench of justices HS Bedi and CK Prasad told counsel Priya Hingorani, “There is no provision in the criminal procedure code allowing persons other than the state, prosecutor or the kin of the victim to file an appeal under such circumstances. You have no locus standi (right) in the case.”
Hingorani said rape is a serious crime and HC has given untenable grounds for reducing the convict’s punishment.

Stressing that sentence in rape cases must be exemplary, SC had said the social impact of the crime, such as where it relates to offences against women, dacoity, kidnapping, misappropriation of public money, treason and other offences involving moral turpitude or moral delinquency, which have great impact on social order and public interest, cannot be lost sight of and per se require exemplary treatment.
Some other judgments in rape cases have interested the legal analysts.
In one, it said rape is “violation of the private person of a woman” and an “outrage by all means”.

“By the very nature of the offence, it is an obnoxious act of the highest order,’’ judges had said.
In another case, judged quashed a HC judgment that acquitted a rape convict on the ground he was drunk.

The court also held that a rapist couldn’t be acquitted merely because the victim is used to sex. Even ifit is hypothetically accepted that the victim had lost her virginity earlier, it did not and cannot in law give license to any person to rape her.
“It is the accused who is on trial and not the victim,” the court said.

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