Laws on sexual offences women-centric but male partners not always wrong: HC - Hindustan Times
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Laws on sexual offences women-centric but male partners not always wrong: HC

ByJItendra Sarin
Jun 14, 2024 07:12 AM IST

The court was hearing the complainant’s appeal against acquittal of the accused in the rape case. The accused had also been charge-sheeted under the Scheduled Caste And Scheduled Tribe (Prevention Of Atrocities) Act, 1989. As per the case, In 2019, the victim had made a complaint in Colnelganj police station of Prayagraj that the accused established sexual relationship with her on the promise of marriage but later refused to marry her. She also claimed that he had spoken about her caste in a derogatory manner.

PRAYAGRAJ: Acquitting a person accused of rape on false promise of marriage, the Allahabad high court has held that the laws on sexual offences were rightly women centric but that did not mean the male partner was always wrong.

The court said that the burden of proof in such cases was on both the woman complainant and the accused. (Pic for representation)
The court said that the burden of proof in such cases was on both the woman complainant and the accused. (Pic for representation)

Giving this judgment, a division bench comprising justices Rahul Chaturvedi and Nand Prabha Shukla further said that the burden of proof in such cases was on both the woman complainant and the accused.

“No doubt, chapter XVI “sexual offences”, is a women-centric enactment to protect the dignity and honor of a woman/ girl and rightly so, but while assessing the circumstances, it is not the only and every time the male partner is at wrong, the burden is upon both of them,” the court observed.

The court was hearing the complainant’s appeal against acquittal of the accused in the rape case. The accused had also been charge-sheeted under the Scheduled Caste And Scheduled Tribe (Prevention Of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

As per the case, In 2019, the victim had made a complaint in Colnelganj police station of Prayagraj that the accused established sexual relationship with her on the promise of marriage but later refused to marry her. She also claimed that he had spoken about her caste in a derogatory manner.

Subsequently, after investigation, the accused was chargesheeted in 2020. The trial court, Prayagraj had on February 8, 2024 acquitted the accused of rape charge and convicted him only under Section 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of Indian Penal Code (IPC). Hence, the complainant filed the present criminal appeal before the high court against the trial court verdict.

In his response, the accused told the court that the said relationship was consensual and that he had declined to marry after coming to know that her real caste was not ‘Yadav’ as projected by her.

Considering the contentions and material on record, the court found that the complainant had married a man in 2010 but she started living separately after two years. It also noted that the complainant had denied her earlier marriage and pleaded ignorance about her name in the family register produced before the trial court.

Upholding the acquittal given by the trial court, the high court said, “It can be easily inferred that a woman who is already married and without dissolution of her earlier marriage and concealing her caste has maintained the physical relationship for a good five years without any objection and hesitation and both of them have visited numbers of hotel, lodges at Allahabad and Lucknow and enjoyed the company of each other, it is difficult to adjudicate who is befooling whom” .

In this regard, it observed that the complainant was unable to clarify the claim regarding her caste.

In this backdrop, the court concluded that the trial court had rightly acquitted the accused.

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