Promise Of Marriage To A Married Woman Cannot Be Basis Of Rape: Kerala HC

The Kerala High Court on Thursday exculpated a man facing rape charges. It said that if a man promises to marry an already married woman and the subsequent physical relationship between them will not attract the provision of rape under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

A single bench of Justice Kausar Edappagath dismissed a rape case filed by the police in the Kollam district in 2018. The bench observed that if a married woman voluntarily has sex with a man knowing full well that she cannot legally marry him, it can be no rape.

According to the prosecution case, the accused sexually assaulted the applicant several times in Australia by falsely promising marriage. She stated in her plea that she agreed to have sex after repeated promises of marriage by the accused. Although married, the woman separated from her husband. She filed her divorce papers.

The court said that it was clear from the petitioner’s detailed statement that the sexual relationship was consensual in nature. It said that the promise of marriage would not stand in the suit as the woman was married and she knew very well that a valid marriage was not possible under the law.

The court said, “Such an unenforceable and illegal promise cannot be a basis for the prosecution under section 376 of the IPC. There is no case for the accused that the sex they had was after inducing a belief of lawful marriage. There are no ingredients to attract the offence of cheating.”

In a similar case last month, the same bench had ruled that rape on false promise of marriage would not stand if the woman knew that the man was already married and had intercourse with her. The court dismissed the case against a 33-year-old man from the state capital.