Quashing of rape case, 376 IPC

While quashing a rape case, the Supreme Court observed that there is a distinction between a false promise to marriage and a breach of promise which is made in good faith but subsequently not fulfilled.

The court noted that, in this case, both parties were admittedly in a consensual relationship from 2009 to 2011. Though the victim contended that this relationship was on an assurance of marriage by the accused, the complaint was filed only in 2016 after three years, which led to registration of FIR under Section 376 and 420, IPC. The Bombay High Court had earlier dismissed the writ petition filed by the accused observing that rape ‘is said to be an offence against the society’.

We find ex facie the registration of FIR in the present case is abuse of the criminal process, the bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh observed.

The court observed that permitting further proceedings under the FIR would amount to harassment to the accused through the criminal process itself. “The parties chose to have physical relationship without marriage for a considerable period of time. For some reason, the parties fell apart. It can happen both before or after marriage”, the court added.

Referring to an earlier judgment in Pramod Suryabhan Pawar Vs. State of Maharashtra (2019) 9 SCC 608, the bench observed:

“We are fortified to adopt this course of action by the judicial view in (2019) 9 SCC 608 titled “Pramod Suryabhan Pawar Vs. State of Maharashtra & Anr.” where in the factual scenario where complainant was aware that there existed obstacles in marrying the accused and still continued to engage in sexual relations, the Supreme Court quashed the FIR. A distinction was made between a false promise to marriage which is given on understanding by the maker that it will be broken and a breach of promise which is made in good faith but subsequently not fulfilled. This was in the context of Section 375 Explanation 2 and Section 90 of the IPC, 1860″.
In Pramod Suryabhan Pawar, the Supreme Court had observed thus: “The “consent” of a woman with respect to Section 375 must involve an active and reasoned deliberation towards the proposed act. To establish whether the “consent” was vitiated by a “misconception of fact” arising out of a promise to marry, two propositions must be established. The promise of marriage must have been a false promise, given in bad faith and with no intention of being adhered to at the time it was given. The false promise itself must be of immediate relevance, or bear a direct nexus to the woman’s decision to engage in the sexual act.”

Case details

Mandar Deepak Pawar vs State of Maharashtra | 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 649 | CrA 442/2022 | 27 July 2022 | Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh

Headnotes

Indian Penal Code, 1860 ; Section 375 and 90 – The parties chose to have physical relationship without marriage for a considerable period of time – For some reason, the parties fell apart. It can happen both before or after marriage – FIR lodged three years thereafter – Permitting further proceedings under the FIR would amount to harassment to the appellant through the criminal process itself Distinction between a false promise to marriage which is given on understanding by the maker that it will be broken and a breach of promise which is made in good faith but subsequently not fulfilled – Referred to Pramod Suryabhan Pawar Vs. State of Maharashtra (2019) 9 SCC 608.

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