Having sex when there is intention to marry is not rape: Supreme Court of India.

“Allowing the appeal, the Supreme Court said the prosecutrix in this case was 19 years of age and had adequate intelligence and maturity to understand the significance and morality associated with the act she was consenting to. She was conscious of the fact that her marriage might not take place owing to various considerations, including the caste factor. Hence it could not be said that she had not given her consent for having sex with the appellant, the Bench said and directed that the appellant, who had already served three-year imprisonment, be released.”

—————————————————————————————————————————————-

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 2322 of 2010

 

Deepak Gulati                                        …Appellant

 

Versus

State of Haryana                                   …Respondent

 

J U D G M E N T

 

Dr. B.S. CHAUHAN, J.

 

1.          This  appeal  has  been  preferred  against  the  impugned

judgment and order dated 28.1.2010, passed by  the  Punjab  &  Haryana

High Court at Chandigarh in CRA No. 960-SB of 1998 by  way  of  which,

the High Court has affirmed the judgment and order of  the  Additional

Sessions Judge, Karnal dated 13.11.1998 passed in Sessions Case No.  7

of 1995, by way  of  which  the  appellant  stood  convicted  for  the

offences punishable under Sections 365 and 376  of  the  Indian  Penal

Code, 1860 (hereinafter referred to as the  `IPC’)  and  sentenced  to

undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of three years, alongwith a

fine of Rs.2,000/- under Section 365 IPC;  and  rigorous  imprisonment

for a period of seven years, alongwith  a  fine  of  Rs.5,000/-  under

Section 376 IPC.  Both the sentences were ordered to run concurrently.

 

 

 

 

2.         Facts and circumstances giving  rise  to  this  appeal  are

that:

A.         The appellant and Geeta,  prosecutrix,  19  years  of  age,

student of 10+2 in Government Girls Senior Secondary  School,  Karnal,

had known each other for some time. Appellant had been meeting her  in

front of her school in an attempt to develop intimate  relations  with

her. On 10.5.1995, the  appellant  induced  her  to  go  with  him  to

Kurukshetra, to get married and she agreed.  En route Kurukshetra from

Karnal, the appellant took her to Karna lake (Karnal), and had  sexual

intercourse with her against her wishes,  behind  bushes.  Thereafter,

the appellant took her to Kurukshetra,  stayed with his relatives  for

3-4 days and committed rape upon her.

 

 

B.         The  prosecutrix  was  thrown  out  after  4  days  by  the

appellant.  She then  went  to  one  of  the  hostels  in  Kurukshetra

University, and stayed there for a few days.  The warden of the hostel

became   suspicious  and  thus,  questioned  the  prosecutrix.     The

prosecutrix thus narrated the incident to the warden, who informed her

father.   Meanwhile, the prosecutrix left the hostel  and  went  to  a

temple, where she once again met the appellant.  Here,  the  appellant

convinced her to accompany him to Ambala to  get  married.  When  they

reached the bus stand, they found her father present  there  alongwith

the police. The appellant was apprehended.

 

 

C.         Baldev Raj Soni, father of the prosecutrix,  had  lodged  a

complaint on 16.5.1995 under Sections  365  and  366  IPC,  which  was

later converted to one under Sections 365 and 376 IPC.

 

 

D.         The prosecutrix was medically examined  on  17.5.1995.  Her

statement was recorded by the Magistrate under Section 164 of the Code

of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (hereinafter referred to as the `Cr.P.C.’)

on 20.5.1995. After completing the investigation,  a  chargesheet  was

filed against the appellant, and in view of the  material  on  record,

charges under Sections 365 and 376 IPC were framed against him by  the

Sessions Court, vide order dated 3.5.1996.

 

 

E.         The prosecution examined 13 witnesses  in  support  of  its

case and in view thereof, the Sessions Court convicted  the  appellant

under Sections 365/376 IPC, vide judgment and order  dated  13.11.1998

and awarded him the sentence for the said charges as has been referred

to hereinabove.

 

 

F.         Aggrieved, the appellant preferred Criminal Appeal No. 960-

SB of 1998 (D & M)  in  the  High  Court  of  Punjab  and  Haryana  at

Chandigarh, which stood dismissed by the impugned judgment  and  order

dated 18.11.1998.

Hence, this appeal.

 

 

3.         None present for the appellant.  In view thereof, the Court

has examined the material on record and gone through both the impugned

judgments with the help of Shri Kamal  Mohan  Gupta,  learned  counsel

appearing on behalf of the State.

 

4.         The statement of the prosecutrix (PW.7) was recorded  under

Section 164 Cr.P.C. on 20.5.1995, wherein she has clearly stated  that

she had gone alongwith the appellant  to  get  married  and  for  such

purpose, she had also obtained a certificate from her school as  proof

of her age.  On the said date i.e. 10.5.1995,  as  the  appellant  had

been unable to  reach  the  pre-decided  place,  the  prosecutrix  had

telephoned him on the number provided by him.  She has further deposed

that the appellant had asked her to have a physical relationship  with

him, but that she had not agreed to do so before marriage.  When  they

reached Kurukshetra and stayed with his relatives there, the appellant

had sexual intercourse with her for 3 days.  On the 4th day,  she  was

thrown out of the house by the appellant and thus, she  had   gone  to

the Girls Hostel in  Kurukshetra  University,  where  she  had  stayed

under the pretext of getting admitted to the university.  However, the

university personnel became suspicious,  and  after  making  enquiries

from her, they telephoned  her house.  She then  left  the  university

and had gone to the Birla Mandir at Kurukshetra,  where  she  had  met

appellant.  Here he lured her once again, and thus, she had agreed  to

accompany him to Ambala to get married in court there.  However,  when

they reached the old bus stand Kurukshetra, she had found  her  father

and  several  police  officials  present  there,  and  thereafter  the

appellant had been arrested and the prosecutrix was taken to Karnal.

 

 

5.         The prosecutrix was examined in court as PW.7 on  5.7.1996,

wherein she deposed that on 10.5.1995, as per the agreed plan, she had

left her house to go alongwith the appellant  to  Kurukshetra  to  get

married in court.  However, she had not found  the  appellant  at  the

place decided upon by them, and had thus telephoned him  at the number

provided to her by him.  She was then informed that the appellant  had

already left for Kurukshetra and hence, waited for him from 12.00 noon

till 1.30 p.m. When he arrived, she went alongwith  the  appellant  at

2.30 p.m. to Karna lake (Karnal) by bus.  Here,  she  was  taken  into

some bushes behind the restaurant at Karna lake, and thereafter  raped

by the appellant. At the said time, she neither raised any  objection,

nor any hue and cry. The prosecutrix did not  even  mention  the  said

incident to any person, despite going to Kurukshetra and staying there

for 3-4 days.  She raised no  grievance  in  this  regard  before  any

person or authority at the bus stand.  She continued to stay with  the

appellant in the house of his  relatives  and  was  raped  there.  The

appellant continued to postpone their marriage on one pretext  or  the

other. Thereafter, she was thrown out of the house. She thus went  and

stayed in the University hostel and on being questioned, she disclosed

details regarding her  treatment  to  the  warden,  who  informed  her

family. After this, she went to the Birla Mandir at  Kurukshetra,  and

here she met the appellant once  again.  The  appellant  made  another

attempt to convince her to go to Ambala with him  to  get  married  in

court there. Upon reaching the old Bus Stand, she  found  her  brother

Rajinder there alongwith a police party,  who  had  been  accompanying

them in a jeep to Karnal.

6.         In his statement, Baldev Raj Soni  (PW.8),  father  of  the

prosecutrix has deposed that on 10.5.1995, her daughter Geeta did  not

come home. He thus lodged a complaint and contacted Rajni, a friend of

Geeta, who told him  that  the  appellant  Deepak  had  taken  her  to

Kurukshetra. On 17.5.1995,  the  police  had  gone  alongwith  him  to

Kurukshetra to locate Geeta, where they had found the prosecutrix  and

the appellant sitting at the old bus stand  in  Kurukshetra.  Both  of

them had been caught hold of by them, and were brought to Karnal.

 

 

7.         Smt. P. Kant Vashisht (PW.10), Warden of  Saraswati  Bhawan

Kurukshetra University,  though  did  not  support  the  case  of  the

prosecution, and was declared hostile, has deposed in her  examination

in chief that Geeta, prosecutrix, had been  brought to her  office  by

one person, namely, Shri Ashwini, student of the engineering  college,

and that he had left Geeta in her office, stating that he would inform

her parents. After sometime, her brother had come and taken her  away.

She was cross-examined by the prosecution, and she  has  deposed  that

the  prosecutrix  had  in  fact  stayed  in  the  hostel  without  any

authority/permission. One Nirmla,  attendant therein had  allowed  her

to stay in the hostel without any such requisite permission.

 

 

8.         Smt. Krishana Chawla (PW.3), Lecturer of Political  Science

in Government Senior Secondary  School,  Karnal,  has  deposed  before

court, and has proved the school register to show  that  the  date  of

birth of the  prosecutrix was 26.6.1976.

 

 

9.          Dr.  (Mrs.)  Amarjeet  Wadhwa  (PW.11),  Medical  Officer,

Government  Hospital,  Karnal,  who  examined   the   prosecutrix   on

17.5.1995, has deposed that the prosecutrix  had  indulged  in  sexual

intercourse and was habitual to the same.

 

 

10.        Shri Bhagwan Chand (PW.12), ASI, the Investigating Officer,

has deposed that after recording the statement of the  father  of  the

prosecutrix on 17.5.1995, he had taken her father  to  Kurukshetra  to

search for the prosecutrix alongwith one constable.   At  about  12.00

noon, when they reached the old bus stand at Kurukshetra,  the  father

of the prosecutrix noticed Geeta, sitting with the appellant Deepak in

one corner of the bus stand,  and  thereafter,  they  had  apprehended

them. He has also disposed that he had recorded the statement  of  the

prosecutrix.

 

 

11.        There exist in the statements  of  the  witnesses  material

contradictions,  improvements  and  embellishments.   In  the   cross-

examination, Baldev Raj Soni (PW.8)   has deposed that he had gone  to

Kurukshetra with his relatives i.e. Ashwini Kumar  and  Surinder,  and

has stated that his son Rajinder was not with him at  such  time.   He

has not deposed that he had  received  any  telephone  call  from  the

warden of any hostel,  as  has  been  suggested  by  the  prosecutrix.

Furthermore, the  prosecutrix  in  her  statement  under  Section  164

Cr.P.C., has not mentioned the incident  involving  her  indulging  in

sexual contact with the appellant at the Karna lake at Karnal. Bhagwan

Chand (PW.12)  has not mentioned that any relatives of the prosecutrix

had accompanied them while they were traveling   from  Kurukshetra  to

Karnal.

 

 

12.        The FIR in the  present  case  has  been  registered  under

Sections 365 and 366 IPC, by Baldev Raj Soni  (PW.8),  father  of  the

prosecutrix, naming several persons, including the appellant, accusing

them of enticing his daughter  and  wrongfully  confining  her  at  an

unknown place.  Thus, he has expressed his apprehension  with  respect

to danger to the life of his daughter.

 

 

13.        Admittedly, the prosecutrix has never raised any  grievance

before any person at any stage. In fact, she seems to  have  submitted

to the will of the appellant, possibly in lieu of his promise to marry

her. . Thus, a question arises with respect to whether,  in  light  of

the facts and circumstances of the present case, the appellant had  an

intention to deceive her from the very beginning when he had asked the

prosecutrix to leave for Kurukshetra with him from Karnal.

 

 

14.        The undisputed facts of the case are as under:

I.The prosecutrix was 19  years  of  age  at  the  time  of  the  said

incident.

II.         She   had   inclination   towards   the   appellant,   and

had willingly gone  with  him  to  Kurukshetra   to                get

married.

III.        The  appellant  had   been   giving   her   assurance   of

the fact that he would get married to her.

IV.          The   physical   relationship   between    the    parties

had    clearly    developed    with     the     consent     of     the

prosecutrix,   as    there    was    neither    a    case    of    any

resistance, nor had she raised any complaint                  anywhere

at any time despite the fact that she                had  been  living

with the appellant for several              days,  and  had  travelled

with him from one place             to another.

V.           Even   after   leaving   the   hostel   of    Kurukshetra

University, she agreed  and  proceeded  to  go  with               the

appellant to Ambala, to get married to him           there.

 

 

15.        Section 114-A of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (hereinafter

referred to as the ‘Act  1872’)  provides,  that  if  the  prosecutrix

deposes that she did not  give  her  consent,  then  the  Court  shall

presume that she did not in fact, give such consent.  The facts of the

instant case do not warrant that the provisions of  Section  114-A  of

the Act 1872 be  pressed  into  service.   Hence,  the  sole  question

involved herein is whether her consent had been obtained on the  false

promise of marriage. Thus, the provisions of Sections 417, 375 and 376

IPC have to be taken into consideration, alongwith the  provisions  of

Section 90 of the Act 1872. Section 90 of the Act 1872 provides,  that

any consent  given  under  a  misconception  of  fact,  would  not  be

considered as valid consent, so far as the provisions of  Section  375

IPC are concerned,  and  thus,  such  a  physical  relationship  would

tantamount to committing rape.

 

 

16.        This Court considered the issue involved herein  at  length

in the case of  Uday v. State of Karnataka, AIR 2003 SC  1639;  Deelip

Singh @ Dilip Kumar  v.  State  of  Bihar,  AIR  2005  SC  203;  Yedla

Srinivasa Rao v. State of A.P., (2006) 11 SCC 615; and  Pradeep  Kumar

Verma v. State of Bihar & Anr., AIR 2007 SC 3059,   and  came  to  the

conclusion that in the event that  the accused’s promise is not  false

and  has  not  been  made  with  the  sole  intention  to  seduce  the

prosecutrix to indulge in sexual  acts,  such  an  act(s)   would  not

amount to rape.  Thus,  the  same  would  only  hold  that  where  the

prosecutrix, under a misconception of fact  to  the  extent  that  the

accused is  likely to marry her,  submits to the lust of the  accused,

such a fraudulent act cannot be said to be consensual, so far  as  the

offence of the accused is concerned.

 

 

17.        Rape is the most morally and physically reprehensible crime

in a society, as it is an assault on the body, mind and privacy of the

victim. While a murderer destroys the physical frame of the victim,  a

rapist degrades and defiles the  soul  of  a  helpless  female.   Rape

reduces a woman to an animal, as it shakes the very core of her  life.

By no means can a rape victim be called an accomplice. Rape  leaves  a

permanent scar on the life of the victim, and therefore a rape  victim

is placed on a higher pedestal than an  injured  witness.  Rape  is  a

crime against the entire society and violates the human rights of  the

victim. Being the most hated crime, rape tantamounts to a serious blow

to the supreme honour of a woman, and offends  both,  her  esteem  and

dignity. It causes psychological and  physical  harm  to  the  victim,

leaving upon her indelible marks.

 

 

18.        Consent may be express or implied,  coerced  or  misguided,

obtained willingly or through deceit. Consent is  an  act  of  reason,

accompanied by  deliberation, the mind weighing, as in a balance,  the

good and evil on each side.  There is a clear distinction between rape

and consensual sex and in a  case  like  this,  the  court  must  very

carefully examine whether the accused had actually wanted to marry the

victim, or had mala fide motives, and had made a false promise to this

effect only to satisfy his lust, as the latter falls within the  ambit

of cheating or deception.  There is a  distinction  between  the  mere

breach of a promise, and not fulfilling a  false  promise.  Thus,  the

court must  examine whether there was made, at an early stage a  false

promise of marriage by the accused; and whether the  consent  involved

was given after wholly, understanding the nature and  consequences  of

sexual indulgence.  There may be a case where the  prosecutrix  agrees

to have sexual intercourse on account of her love and passion for  the

accused, and not solely on account of mis-representation made  to  her

by the accused, or where an accused on account of circumstances  which

he could not have foreseen, or which  were  beyond  his  control,  was

unable to marry her, despite having every intention  to  do  so.  Such

cases must be treated differently.  An accused can  be  convicted  for

rape only if the court reaches a conclusion that the intention of  the

accused was mala fide, and that he had clandestine motives.

 

 

19.        In Deelip Singh (supra), it has been observed as under:

“20.     The factors set out in the first part  of  Section

90 are from the point of view of  the  victim.  The  second

part of Section 90 enacts the corresponding provision  from

the point of view of the accused.  It  envisages  that  the

accused too has knowledge or has reason to believe that the

consent was given by the victim in consequence of  fear  of

injury or misconception of fact. Thus, the second part lays

emphasis on the  knowledge  or  reasonable  belief  of  the

person who obtains the tainted consent. The requirements of

both the parts should be cumulatively satisfied.  In  other

words, the court has to see whether the person  giving  the

consent had given it under fear of injury or  misconception

of fact and the court should also  be  satisfied  that  the

person  doing  the  act  i.e.  the  alleged  offender,   is

conscious of the fact or should have reason to  think  that

but for the fear or misconception, the  consent  would  not

have been given. This is the scheme of Section 90 which  is

couched in negative terminology.”

 

 

 

 

20.        This Court, while deciding  Pradeep  Kumar  Verma  (Supra),

placed reliance upon the judgment of the Madras High  Court  delivered

in N. Jaladu, Re ILR (1913) 36 Mad 453, wherein it has been  observed:

 

 

“We  are  of  opinion  that   the   expression   “under   a

misconception of fact” is broad enough to include all cases

where the consent is  obtained  by  misrepresentation;  the

misrepresentation  should  be  regarded  as  leading  to  a

misconception of the facts  with  reference  to  which  the

consent  is  given.  In  Section  3  of  the  Evidence  Act

Illustration  (d)  states  that  a  person  has  a  certain

intention is treated as a fact. So,  here  the  fact  about

which the second and third prosecution witnesses were  made

to entertain a misconception was the fact that  the  second

accused intended to get the girl married……..

“thus  …  if  the  consent  of  the  person  from   whose

possession the girl is taken  is  obtained  by  fraud,  the

taking is deemed to be against the will of such a person”.

… Although in cases of contracts a  consent  obtained  by

coercion or fraud is only voidable by the party affected by

it, the effect of Section  90  IPC  is  that  such  consent

cannot, under the criminal law, be availed  of  to  justify

what would otherwise be an offence.”

 

 

 

 

21.        Hence, it is evident that there must be adequate   evidence

to show that at the relevant time, i.e. at initial stage  itself,  the

accused  had no intention whatsoever, of keeping his promise to  marry

the victim. There may, of course,  be  circumstances,  when  a  person

having the best of intentions is unable to marry the victim  owing  to

various unavoidable circumstances.  The “failure  to  keep  a  promise

made with respect to a future uncertain date, due to reasons that  are

not very clear from the evidence available, does not always amount  to

misconception of fact. In order to come within the meaning of the term

misconception of fact, the fact must  have  an  immediate  relevance.”

Section 90 IPC cannot be called into aid  in  such  a  situation,   to

pardon the act of a girl in entirety, and fasten criminal liability on

the other, unless the court is assured of the fact that from the  very

beginning, the accused had never really intended to marry her.

 

 

22.        The instant case is factually very similar to the  case  of

Uday (Supra), wherein the following facts were found to exist:

I.         The prosecutrix was  19  years  of  age  and  had  adequate

intelligence and maturity to understand the significance and  morality

associated with the act she was consenting to.

II.        She was conscious of the fact that  her  marriage  may  not

take place  owing  to  various  considerations,  including  the  caste

factor.

III.       It was difficult to impute to the  accused,   knowledge  of

the fact that the prosecutrix had consented  as  a  consequence  of  a

misconception of fact, that had arisen from his promise to marry her.

IV.        There was no  evidence  to  prove  conclusively,  that  the

appellant had never intended to marry the prosecutrix.

 

 

23.        To conclude, the prosecutrix had left her home voluntarily,

of her own free will to get married to  the  appellant.   She  was  19

years of  age  at  the  relevant  time  and  was,  hence,  capable  of

understanding the complications and issues surrounding her marriage to

the appellant.   According to the version of events provided  by  her,

the prosecutrix had called the appellant on a number given to  her  by

him, to ask him why he had not met her at the place that had been pre-

decided by them. She also waited for him for a long time, and when  he

finally arrived she went  with  him  to  the  Karna  lake  where  they

indulged in sexual intercourse. She did not  raise  any  objection  at

this stage and made no complaints to any one.   Thereafter,  she  also

went to Kurukshetra with the  appellant,  where  she  lived  with  his

relatives.  Here to, the prosecutrix voluntarily became intimate  with

the appellant.  She then, for some reason, went to live in the  hostel

at Kurukshetra University illegally, and once again came into  contact

with  the  appellant  at  the  Birla  Mandir.   Thereafter,  she  even

proceeded with the appellant to the old bus-stand in  Kurukshetra,  to

leave for Ambala so that the two of them could get married in court at

Ambala. However, here they were apprehended by the police.

 

 

24.        If the prosecutrix was in fact going to Ambala to marry the

appellant, as stands fully established from the evidence on record, we

fail to understand on what basis the allegation of “false  promise  of

marriage” has  been  raised  by  the  prosecutrix.  We  also  fail  to

comprehend the circumstances in which a charge of deceit/rape  can  be

leveled against the appellant, in light of  the  afore-mentioned  fact

situation.

 

 

25.        In view of the above, we are of the considered opinion that

the appellant, who has already served more than 3 years  sentence,  is

entitled to the benefit of doubt. Therefore, the appeal  succeeds  and

is allowed. His conviction and sentences awarded by the  courts  below

are set aside.  The  appellant  is  on  bail.  His  bail  bonds  stand

discharged.

…………….J.

(Dr. B.S. CHAUHAN)

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