Educated Woman Having Consensual Sex on False Promise of Marriage Isn’t Rape: Kerala HC

The Court acquits a man charged of rape

0
510

An educated woman having consensual sex with a person who has promised to marry her cannot be treated as rape according to the Kerala High Court in a recent judgement. Even an uneducated woman cannot be cheated more than once or twice on the promise of marriage said the Court. This conviction came after the Court was reviewing an appeal by 31-year-old Ratheesh Ramachandran of Ernakulam who was convicted on rape by a sessions court. The complainant, a 27-year-old engineering graduate, had said that she was forced to have sex with the appellant in a hotel and thrice had sexual intercourse in her home against her will.

When the appellant reneged on his promise of marriage, the woman attempted to commit suicide which he claimed was out of despair not due to rape. He contested the rape claims and said that the sexual relationship was consensual. The Court while acquitting the appellant on rape charges said that it was hard to believe that a woman with an engineering degree could be deceived multiple times on the promise of marriage and the analysis of evidence shows that the lady willingly had intercourse several times at her residence.

After a letter was produced in court from the complainant to the woman the accused was supposed to marry, the court declared that the affair was consensual. “I find that this is a clear case of consent, and that the sexual intercourse was not at any time vitiated by any false promise,” said the judge.

The Gujarat High Court had laid down a similar judgment in a March 2015 case where they had said that a mere breach of promise does constitute as an offence under Section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code. The Gujarat High Court passed the order after a Surat-based man’s plea to set aside rape proceedings by a former live-in partner.

In 2013, a Crime Investigation Department report had said that “sex after a false promise of marriage” is the leading category within registered rape cases in Maharashtra. However, under Section 90, if consent is given “under a misconception of fact” and the perpetrator is aware of this falsehood, then it cannot be deemed consent.

However, the positions men and women occupy in society also make a difference. Indian women are raised to believe that they must only have sex within a marriage. The impact of the sexual relationship before marriage or with the promise to marry (consensual or forced), is always different on the two,” said Rukmini Sen, assistant professor at the School of Liberal Studies in Delhi’s Ambedkar University to the Scroll.