The Karnataka High Court has declared that the very length or period of a relationship is a factor, which has to be considered in a case of rape registered on the basis of false promise of marriage.
Justice M Nagaprasanna quashed the proceedings against a man with related to charges of rape, criminal breach of trust etc made against him by a woman.
The petitioner had challenged the proceedings initiated against him before the City Civil and Sessions court in Bengaluru. The petitioner and the complainant woman were in a relationship for five years and wanted to get married. The petitioner claimed that despite his best efforts, the marriage could not take place due to caste equations.
He, further, contended that the complainant turned around and branded the relationship with him to be on the false pretext of marriage. On the other hand, the complainant woman claimed that if consent was obtained by false promise or false pretext of marriage, it would amount to rape, as consent was not given by free will.
The court, however, pointed out that the consent in the case at hand was not once, twice or thrice, but for five years as narrated in the complaint.
"The consent in the case at hand is not once, twice or thrice; not for days or months; but for several years, five years precisely, as is narrated in the complaint as the two were in love. Therefore, for five long years, it cannot be said that the consent of a woman has been taken for having such instances, all along against her will," the bench wondered.
"It is the length of the relationship and the acts in such period of such relationship between the two that takes away the rigor of ingredients of Section 375 of the IPC, for it to become an offence under Section 376 of the IPC," the bench added.
The court also said that merely because there were financial transactions between the accused and the complainant that by itself would not become an ingredient of criminal breach of trust under IPC section 406. However, the accused-petitioner has to face trial insofar as offences under IPC sections 323 (grievous assault) and section 506 (criminal intimidation) were concerned.
In the judgement, the court said, "In the light of facts being so glaring and the law in favour of the petitioner, permitting further proceedings or continuance of trial would undoubtedly lead to miscarriage of justice qua the offence punishable under Section 376 of the IPC."