Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Going back on promise of marriage after parents’ disapproval does not constitute offence of rape: HC


Mumbai: The Bombay High Court’s Nagpur bench has held that a man reneging from marriage due to parental disapproval cannot be tried for the offence of rape.

A single bench of Justice M W Chandwani on January 30 discharged a 31-year-old man booked for allegedly raping a woman under the pretext of marriage, noting that he had intentions of marrying her but had to break the promise because of parental disapproval.

“There is a distinction between breach of a promise and not fulfilling a false promise,” the court said.

The 33-year-old woman had, in a first information report (FIR) registered with the Nagpur police in 2019, claimed that she had been in a relationship with the man since 2016 and that he had developed physical relations with her after promising marriage.

The woman lodged a police complaint when she learnt that the man got engaged to someone else.

In the petition seeking discharge in the case, the man said he had every intention to marry the woman, but she declined his proposal and told him she would marry someone else.

The man’s family members also disapproved of the relationship, after which he agreed to get engaged to another woman.

However, the victim allegedly got infuriated and lodged the complaint, the plea stated, adding that the complainant had married another man in 2021.

The court noted that the victim was a mature adult and said the allegations levelled by her do not at face value indicate that the man’s promise to marry her was false.

“At the most, it is a case of non-fulfilment or a breach of promise on account of circumstances, which the applicant (accused) could not have foreseen or which were beyond his control as he was unable to marry the victim, despite having every intention to do so,” it said.

The court further noted that there was no material on record to show that since the beginning of the relationship, the man had no intention to marry the victim and that he had made a false promise only to establish physical relations.

“Merely because he resiled from his promise to marry since his parents were not agreeable to their marriage, it cannot be said that the applicant committed the offence of rape,” it held.


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