- RAPE- Unlawful sexual activity and, in most cases, sexual intercourse carried out against a person's will or under threat of damage, or with a person who is under a specific age or incapable of legitimate consent due to mental disease, mental deficiency, drunkenness, unconsciousness, or deceit.
- Section 90 of IPC read with Section 375 of IPC provides that the consent will be vitiated if the consent of the women engaged in sexual activity is on the pretext of a false marriage promise.
- The Supreme Court, in its recent ruling, dismissed the case after it came to know that the accused had married the victim.
Rape is a horrific crime committed when one person seeks total power and control over another. Rape is defined as:
- "Vaginal, anal, or oral penetration are all examples of forced sexual intercourse. A bodily component or an item can penetrate the skin."
Sexual intercourse against a person's will is referred to as rape. In general, the following are the fundamental ingredients of a common-law or forceful rape:
- Sexual intercourse,
- coercion or threat,
- and the victim's lack of consent.
This article talks about how the petitioner’s early allegations against the respondent were quashed when the Supreme Court came to know that the basis on which the case was filed, did not exist in reality.The article also throws light on how the case was quashed under the application of Article 142 of the Constitution and Sections 417, 420, and 376 of IPC. Finally, it also highlights the instant case’s closing remarks.
FACTS OF THE CASE
- The petitioner met the respondent through the Bharat Matrimony website. The petitioner had clarified that after their initial introduction through the website they remained in touch for several days.
- The petitioner and the respondent had decided to marry each other.
- It was alleged that the respondent had sexual intercourse with the petitioner with a promise to get married.
- A FIR was lodged against Mr. Saivamshi for rape under sections 417, 420, and 376 of IPC when he refused to marry the respondent.
- On further notice, it came to know that the respondent and the petitioner had got married to each other.
- The couple then decided to withdraw the case and gave an appeal to Telangana High Court. The High Court dismissed the appeal under section 482 of CrPC.
- The couple then approached the Supreme Court. On a video conference the respondent, T. Harshini validated the fact that she had married the petitioner later and is leading a happy married life.
- The respondent had claimed that the petitioner had raped her with a false promise of marriage in the initial petition.
- The parties further added that the case was a result of miscommunication, and therefore, the proceedings should be quashed as soon as possible.
In India, rape is defined under section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, which states what constitutes the offence of rape. In legal terms, there are three types of rape:
- Rape by force- occurs when the victim's consent has been directly rejected, or when consent has been provided under pressure or compulsion, or when the victim was physically or mentally incapable of giving consent.
- Statutory rape- occurs when the victim is unable to consent due to their age.
- Rape by deception - when consent is acquired through deception. The third category, i.e. rape on the pretext a fake promise to marry, is extended to include the situation where the consent is acquired byproviding the victim a false promise to marry.
In legal terms, a false promise of marriage occurs when it appears that the accused's expectation was not legitimate from the start, yet he persisted to promise that he would marry the young girl, only to deny her later after having a sexual relationship. This type of agreement gained by the accused on the basis of false promises for the fulfilment of his desire cannot be considered assent since the young woman was under the assumption that the accused intended to marry her, and so she had consented to the sexual activity with the accused.
It may be inferred that the following requirements must be completed in order to convict the accused of rape on the premise of a fraudulent marriage promise:
- It must be proven that the marriage promise was fraudulent, and that the accused acted with malice and had no intention of keeping the agreement.
- The woman's agreement to engage in the sexual act was directly linked to the false promise.
- It is clear that the permission was provided based on a false belief that the accused would marry her.
- It must be established that the individual who obtained the consent was aware that the consent was a result of his fraudulent marriage promise.
The judgment was made on the basis of Art 142 of the Constitution. It was validated that when the respondent is married and is happy in that marriage and wishes to quash the proceedings, the Court has no issue to fight upon.
Article 142 of the Indian Constitution "delegates to the Supreme Court the only power to do full justice" between the parties, i.e., if law or legislation fails to offer a remedy, the Court can extend itself to put an end to a dispute in a way that is appropriate to the facts of the case. The following are the instances in the past where Article 142 of the Indian Constitution was invoked:
- In 1989, the Supreme Court used Article 142 to grant redress to the thousands of persons who had been impacted by the Bhopal gas disaster. The Court had granted $470 million in compensation to the victims, citing the clause in the case — known as the Union Carbide case — and remarking that it may even overturn legislative rules to provide "full justice."
- The identical clause was utilized in 2014 to revoke coal block allocations awarded from 1993 onwards, despite no particular evidence of misconduct on the part of individuals who were allotted these blocks.
- In a December 2016 ruling, the Court utilized Article 142 to prohibit the selling of alcohol within 500 meters of national and state roadways across the country.
The proceedings of charges of rape against the accused under sections 417, 420, and 376 of IPC were quashed.
SECTION 417 IPC
Whoever cheats shall be subjected to either imprisonment extending to a period up to one year or a fine or even, in certain cases, both.
SECTION 420 IPC
Cheating and dishonestly inducing the delivery of property are covered by Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code. The highest penalty that can be imposed under the said clause is a seven-year jail sentence and a fine.
SECTION 376 IPC
According to section 376 of the Indian penal code, "Whoever commits an offence punishable under sub-section (1) or (2) of section 376 and inflicts an injury on a woman that causes her death or causes her to be in a persistent vegetative state shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than twenty years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life,".
Shimbhu and Anr. Vs. State of Haryana [CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS.1278-1279 OF 2013]
This is a gang rape case wherein, the two accused raped a girl who lived in their locality for two consecutive days, inside one of the shops nearby. In the instant case, the Court stated that Rape is a non-compoundable crime that is also a crime committed against society. It is not a topic that should be left to the parties to settle. The Court, in all its expertise, had also noted that the Courts cannot always be certain that the victim's consent is genuine since there is always the possibility that she was pushed by the convicts. The Court, further, pointed out that admitting this claim would impose an extra burden on the victim.
State of M.P vs. Madanlal [CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 231 OF 2015]
It was stated by the Court that the decision that in a case of rape or attempted rape, the idea of compromise can never be seriously considered. These are crimes against a woman's body, which serves as her temple. These are offences that suffocate the life force and tarnish one's reputation and needless to say, one's reputation is the most valuable asset one can own. It should not be extinguished because no one wanted it.
JATIN AGARWAL VS. STATE OF TELANGANA AND ANR.[CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 456 OF 2022]
The petitioner had claimed that the accused raped her with a false promise of marriage in the initial petition. The parties, further, added that the case was a result of miscommunication, and therefore the proceedings should be quashed as soon as possible.
Summing up, the case withdrawal plea was accepted by the court. But this gives rise to some legal questions:
- The first question is whether both of them knew each other or were in a relationship.
- Whether the acceptance of having sexual intercourse was from both the parties, though the appellant had promised about the marriage, the time period of marriage wasn’t promised. The approval by both parties is questionable.
Additionally, the accused contended in his Supreme Court appeal that the sexual intercourse between him and the respondent could not be compared with consensual intercourse based on a false promise of marriage, which constitutes the offence of rape.