No relief to rape accused, he got consent by ‘concealing facts’: Bombay HC
The Bombay high court’s Aurangabad bench last week refused to quash a case against a 31-year-old for allegedly raping a woman after promising to marry her, saying he did not tell her his parents would not let them get married because of her so-called lower caste status. The accused, Ashish Pande, cited his parents’ opposition to their relationship and refused to marry the woman. The refusal prompted the woman to lodge a rape complaint against him in Maharashtra’s Latur.
The woman said they met while working together in Kolkata in 2012. In February 2013, he proposed to her, and the next month they went to Shimla, where she initially refused to have physical relations with him since they were yet to get married. Pande allegedly took her to a temple and applied kumkum to her forehead, a marriage ritual. The relationship continued until Pande refused to marry her in January 2019 after his family allegedly humiliated and threw the woman out of their house. The woman filed the case against Pande two months later.
Pande moved the court to have the case quashed, saying the relationship was consensual. The court dismissed his petition. “If the accused had made known to the informant that his parents would not consent for their marriage, the informant would not have submitted herself to his desire to have physical relations with her,” said the bench. “This clearly indicates that he concealed this fact from the informant and obtained her consent projecting as if the parents would not go against his wish. He did not let her know that her low caste would also be an obstacle for their marriage.” The bench added the woman’s consent was obtained by “misconception of facts and it was not a case wherein the accused could not fulfill his promise because of some unforeseen circumstances”. “It cannot be believed that the accused was not aware that his parents would oppose his marriage with the informant, on the ground of her low caste.”