Affair damper on rape case

New Delhi, Jan. 25: The Supreme Court has quashed rape charges against a man, accused of sexually exploiting a woman with false promises of marriage, on the ground that the complainant was already married when she had the adulterous relationship with the accused.

"The physical relationship between the complainant and the accused was admittedly consensual. In her complaints, (the woman) had, however, asserted that her consent was based on a false assurance of marriage by the accused," a two judge bench said.

"Obviously, an inducement for marriage is understandable if (it) is made to an unmarried person."

However, the court noted that while the woman had complained that the accused had had sex with her in December 2006 and January 2007, documents showed she had married another man in June 2003 and divorced him only in September 2008.

"It is apparent from irrefutable evidence that during the dates under reference... she had remained married to Lalji Porwal," the bench of Justices D.K. Jain and J.S. Khehar said.

It said that the woman, more than anybody else, would have been clearly aware that she had a valid marriage with Porwal and so there was no question of anyone being in a position to induce her into a physical relationship by promising marriage.

"The assertion made by the complainant... that the appellant-accused had physical relations with her on the assurance that he would marry her is per se false and, as such, unacceptable," the bench said.

Since the question of a false assurance of marriage stood falsified, the admittedly consensual physical relationship did not constitute an offence, the court ruled.

A Delhi sessions court had framed rape charges against the accused and the high court rejected his plea to quash the charges. The apex court, hearing the appeal, had to secure the woman's presence through a bailable warrant after she dodged notices to appear.

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