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Home / India News / Sex on the false promise of marriage does not amount to rape, says Orissa HC

Sex on the false promise of marriage does not amount to rape, says Orissa HC

The Orissa High Court judgment was delivered in a case involving a youth who was arrested on a woman’s complaint that he made her twice terminate her pregnancy despite having promised to marry her.

india Updated: May 23, 2020 22:33 IST
Debabrata Mohanty  | Edited by Abhinav Sahay
Debabrata Mohanty | Edited by Abhinav Sahay
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
Orissa High Court has said that the law holding that false promise to marriage amounts to rape appears to be erroneous.
Orissa High Court has said that the law holding that false promise to marriage amounts to rape appears to be erroneous.(Sourced Photo)

Having sexual intercourse on the false promise of marriage does not amount to rape, the Orissa High Court ruled on Saturday while setting aside the order of a lower court on the issue of arrest of a youth for allegedly raping a 19-year-old girl.

Under the law, a man can be convicted of rape if it is established that he had sexual intercourse with a woman on the pretext of a false promise of marriage.

“The rape laws should not be used to regulate intimate relationships, especially in cases where women have agency and are entering a relationship by choice,” said justice SK Panigrahi while granting bail to one G Achyut Kumar, who was earlier arrested on the charges of raping a 19-year-old girl in Koraput in 2019.

The girl alleged that when she got pregnant twice, Kumar gave her some medicines and terminated the pregnancy. Following the girl’s complaint, police in Koraput district on November 27 arrested Kumar, who later moved his bail plea before the Sessions-cum-Special judge court of Koraput-Jeypore. It was rejected and Kumar has been in police custody since then.

In its judgment, the HC said many of the complaints come from socially disadvantaged and poor segments of the society and rural areas, women from these sections are often lured into sex by men on false promises of marriage and then dumped as soon as they get pregnant.

“The rape law often fails to capture their plight. The law is well settled that consent obtained on a false promise to marry is not a valid consent. Since the framers of the law have specifically provided the circumstances when ‘consent’ amounts to ‘no consent’ in terms of Section 375 of IPC, consent for the sexual act on the pretext of marriage is not one of the circumstances mentioned under Section 375 of IPC. Hence, the automatic extension of provisions of Section 90 of IPC to determine the effect of consent under Section 375 of IPC deserves a serious relook. The law holding that false promise to marriage amounts to rape appears to be erroneous,” Justice Panigrahi said.

The court, however, said the factual matrix of the case is based on a prima facie view based on records, as so many aspects of the matter require a thorough trial and till that time the benefit of bail deserves to be passed on to the accused.

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