In the recent criminal appeal case of Anurag Soni vs. State of Chattisgarh, the bench comprising of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and MR Shah, referring to many judgments, reiterated that consent for sexual intercourse that is obtained by giving false promise of marriage would not exonerate the man from rape charges.

The judgment said that if it is proved beyond doubt that the accused who promised the prosecutrix that he would marry her, had no such intention to marry since the beginning, and the prosecutrix gave the consent for such sexual intercourse on assurance of marriage by the accused, then such consent will be consent obtained on misconception of fact as per Section 90 of the Indian Penal Code, and the accused will be said to have committed Rape as defined under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code and convicted for the offence under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code.

In the present case, the prosecutrix was a pharmacy student and the accused was a junior doctor, who was in a romantic relationship with each other. They established a physical relationship with each other on the promise by the accused that he would marry her. After that, the accused told the prosecutrix that he would ask his parents about the marriage. The prosecutrix repeatedly asked the accused about the marriage but he gave no reply, and consequently, she informed her parents. Their families arranged for their marriage on a particular day, however, the accused married another girl before that.

The prosecutrix made a complaint against him and he was charged with the offence of rape. The Sessions Court convicted him and sentenced him to undergo 10 years of rigorous imprisonment. The High Court dismissed the appeal. As per the evidence on record, the prosecution was able to clearly establish that from the very beginning, the accused never intended to marry her and gave a false promise. The prosecutrix initially resisted, however, gave the consent relying upon the false promise of the accused that he will marry her and, therefore, her consent can be said to be a consent on misconception of fact as per Section 90 of the IPC and such a consent shall not excuse the accused from the charge of rape and offence under Section 375 of the IPC

Upholding the conviction by the session’s court, the bench said that from the very beginning the accused had no intention to marry the victim and made false promises with mala fide motives merely to satisfy his lust. “But for the false promise by the accused to marry the prosecutrix, the prosecutrix would not have given the consent to have the physical relationship”. And hence, it is a clear case of cheating and deception.

There was a contention raised by the counsel for the accused that both the accused and prosecutrix were now married (not with each other) and thus accused may not be convicted. To which, the bench said that this is not a reason to acquit the accused and he must face the consequences of the crime committed by him. 

Legal News Writer- Sonal Sinha.

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