Underlining that there were cases wherein women “converted consensual act as an incident of rape… out of anger and frustration, thereby defeating the very purpose of the provision”, the Delhi High Court has dismissed a plea against the acquittal of a man who had been accused of rape.
“This court has observed on a number of occasions… where both people, out of their free will and choice, develop consensual physical relationship, and when the relationship breaks down… the women use the law as a weapon for vengeance and personal vendetta,” said Justice Pratibha Rani. “This requires a clear demarcation between rape and consensual sex, especially in the case where complaint is that consent was given on promise to marry.”
The matter pertains to a woman who had registered a complaint under sections 328 (causing hurt by poison, etc) and 376 (rape) of the IPC. She then gave a statement before a trial court, saying that the complaint was filed because of “some misunderstanding”. “The physical relations were made with the accused with my own consent… I pray that the accused may be acquitted as he is innocent and did not commit any offence,” she said.
The trial court, in March 2016, acquitted the man, saying that the woman had deposed that he was innocent. She had not assigned any criminal role to the accused, nor did she depose anything incriminating against the accused, the court said.
“The evidence of the prosecutrix (the woman) makes it highly improbable that such an incident ever took place,” the court said. “She has deposed she had physical relations with the accused with her free consent and the accused honoured his promise by marrying her.”
However, the woman later moved the Delhi High Court challenging the acquittal order, and told the court that she was “persuaded” by the accused to make a favourable statement. She said she had been misled, and registered a case against him under sections 498-A (husband or relative of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and 406 (criminal breach of trust) of the IPC.
Justice Pratibha Rani said the woman had informed the trial court in August, 2015, that she was 27 years old and had registered the FIR due to a misunderstanding. She got married to the man in November, 2015. “Thus, the petitioner cannot claim she was misled to make a statement in March, 2016, which led to the acquittal,” the judge said. Noting that her petition for quashing of the FIR was dismissed twice, following which trial commenced and the man was acquitted because of the woman’s statement, the judge said there were no “substantial or compelling reasons” to allow appeal against the trial court’s order.