Thursday, January 5, 2017

High court orders rape charges against Mumbai man be dropped

The Bombay high court ordered that rape charges against a man lodged by his former fiancee be dropped in a case where FIR was lodged after they broke up. Justice Mridula Bhatkar said that the complainant girl was 25 years old and highly educated and it was difficult to believe that the sexual relations that they had was on the basis of a consent obtained by fraud.

The woman, who is a lecturer in a reputed Mumbai college, had claimed that she had consented to the sexual relationship as the man had promised marriage, but he had gone back on his word.

"After going through the FIR, it is apparent that the (accused) and the victim were in love with each other nearly for four years and thereafter, they decided to marry. During this period, they had sexual intercourse on a number of occasions at various places and lodges. It is a fact that there was a promise by the petitioner to marry the complainant. However, it cannot be said in any manner that the promise to marry was a condition precedent for giving a free consent for sex before marriage," said the judge. The court pointed out that the woman was 30 years old at the time of filing the complaint and around 26 years old when the first incident of sexual intercourse took place. "She was aware of the consequences of keeping sexual relations with a man and she was also aware that there may be differences between two persons and they may find each other not compatible. The girl was highly educated and also 26 years old. Therefore, the consent cannot be said to have been obtained by fraud, added the judge.

The court referred to a 2014 order by the same bench where it was held that in such cases when it is a conscious decision to keep sexual relations and a matter of choice of both adult persons it cannot be said that consent was obtained fraudulently.

In her complaint lodged at Mahatma Phule police station in Kalyan, the woman said that she had met the accused in 2010. She alleged that he took her to a hotel and raped her. He later promised marriage. They had sexual relations at various hotels and resorts after he promised marriage. He would also demand money from her on various occasions and beat her up the complaint said. The couple got engaged in 2013. In 2014, when she asked about marriage he demanded Rs 5 lakhs, following which she lodged the FIR.

The accused lawyers claimed that the couple was in a relationship and she had consented to the sexual relationship.

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