The accused and the victim, who were neighbours, were in love when one day the accused raped the victim. However, after raping her, he promised her that it would be fine since he was going to marry her. She was relieved with this consolation and continued having sexual relations with him on the pretext of getting married. However, the girl got pregnant and the father of the accused did not agree to their marriage and took his son to an unknown place after which the girl filed the complaint.
Whether consent given under promise of marriage can be considered to be valid consent?
Section 375 IPC, Section 90 IPC.
On the question of whether the sexual intercourse was against her will, The court questions the credibility of the girl by pointing that a girl who would complain to the sister-in-law of the accused about the gestures he used to make would not go to a secluded place at night with the accused. The accused and the victim even used to talk to each other for hours and thus, the Court was of the opinion that the sexual intercourse was not against her will in the first time.
Coming to the question of consent, the Court analyses whether the consent of the girl was given under a misconception of fact based on a false promise to marry. The Court observed that only when from the very beginning, if a person has no intention to marry, but makes a representation that he wants to marry the girl solely to get consent for sexual intercourse, will such a promise will be considered as false and such consent given will be consent given under misconception of fact under Section 90 IPC. The Court observed that in the present case, the promise was not false, rather there was a breach of promise as the accused could be held to have the intention at the beginning but could not fulfill the promise due to his father’s unacceptance. Moreover, the court pointed out that the girl had also told the accused that they could not marry as they are from different castes, thus she knew of the possibility of non-acceptance by the families.
The appeal of the accused was allowed and was held to be not guilty of rape. However, the court reprimanded the actions of the accused and held that he was liable for civil damages due to breach of promise.