iconimg Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Harish V Nair, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 10, 2009
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday observed that if a man has consensual sex with an adult girl on the promise of marriage but later retracts, it amounts to rape. The court upheld the conviction of a tutor Ashok Rai, who had physical relations with a D Pharma student promising marriage but later backtracked, for rape. The girl had later committed suicide.

Disposing of Rai’s appeal against the lower court’s conviction, Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Aruna Suresh said: “We concur with the trial judge’s view that consent of the girl was obtained under a promise of marriage and that the intention of the accused from the beginning was not to marry her. The proposed matrimonial bond was nothing but a bait to obtain her consent to have physical relationship with him”.

Rai’s counsel had argued that keeping in mind that both were adults and in love, the sexual relation was with consent and could not be constituted as rape. However the bench commuted Rai’s life sentence, given by the trial court on May 1, 2008, to five years and six months, he has already spend this period in jail. The sentence was commuted considering the fact that “he (Rai) had redeemed himself in the jail”. He had taken the civil services examinations in jail and even qualified to be an IAS officer.

While reducing the sentence, the court also took into account the “participative act committed by the girl”.

On April 14, 2003 the girl was found vomiting by her family. She then told them that she had consumed poison due to shame.

Adding Rai had been sexually exploiting her and had threatened to defame her in case she objected. She said initially she was lured into the relationship by Rai’s promises of marriage but later resisted his moves. However, Rai continued raping her.

The court, however, set aside Rai’s conviction for abetment of suicide observing that there was no proof of “participative acts to facilitate the suicide”.