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Not a crime if the promise to marry was not false : Supreme Court Quashes Rape Case

It doesnot attract an offence if the promise to marry was not false at the inception
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The bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah, in the matter of Sonu vs. State of UP, quashed the FIR observing that the promise to marry was not false at the inception.

“There is no allegation to the effect that the promise to marry given to the second respondent was false at the inception.”, the bench observed

The bench obsered in the FIR;

“I had love affair with XXXXXXX, for the last 1-1/2 years. He used to tell to marry with me. I got influenced by his talks. I voluntarily developed relationship of husband-wife with him.”

The learned counsel for the appellant, submitted that the “relationship between the appellant and the second respondent was consensual in nature”.

The learned counsel further submitted that the appellant when he entered into the relationship, had no such intention as alleged in the FIR.

“there was absolutely no intent on the part of the appellant, when he entered upon the relationship, not to marry the second respondent nor can it be even suggested that the promise to marry was false.”

The bench noted that the woman developed friendship with the appellant and were in physical relationship for a period of one and a half year.

“The contents of the statement under Section 164 of CrPC also indicate that the second respondent had voluntarily developed relationship of husband-wife with him. The second respondent has then stated that now, he and his family members are refusing to marry with me.”, the bench noted.

The bench also noted the sole grievance that the appellant “refusing to marry”.

“my sole grievance is that Sonu is refusing to marry with me.”, the bench noted.

The bench referred the order in Pramod Suryabhan Pawar v State of Maharashtra, which the learned counsel for the appellant also relied upon.

“Where the promise to marry is false and the intention of the maker at the time of making the promise itself was not to abide by it but to deceive the woman to convince her to engage in sexual relations, there is a ‘misconception of fact’ that vitiates the woman’s ‘consent’. On the other hand, a breach of a promise cannot be said to be a false promise. To establish a false promise, the maker of the promise should have had no intention of upholding his word at the time of giving it…”

The court further observed that (in Pramod Suryabhan Pawar v State of Maharashtra case):

“To summarise the legal position that emerges from the above cases, the ‘consent‘ of a woman with respect to Section 375 must involve an active and reasoned deliberation towards the proposed act. To establish whether the ‘consent’ was vitiated by a ‘misconception of fact‘ arising out of a promise to marry, two propositions must be established. The promise of marriage must have been a false promise, given in bad faith and with no intention of being adhered to at the time it was given. The false promise itself must be of immediate relevance, or bear a direct nexus to the woman’s decision to engage in the sexual act.”

The bench referring the above judgement said that “no offence has been established”.

“Bearing in mind the tests which have been enunciated in the above decision, we are of the view that even assuming that all the allegations in the FIR are correct for the purposes of considering the application for quashing under Section 482 of CrPC, no offence has been established.”

The bench allowed the appeal and set aside the order of the High Court in the case.

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