29 Sep 2020: Not rape: SC acquits man, accused of violating live-in partner
Accused of raping the woman he lived with, a man got a reprieve from the Supreme Court on Monday, after over 20 years.
A bench of Justices RF Nariman, Navin Sinha, and Indira Banerjee noticed discrepancies in the woman's complaint and noted that she was aware of the obstacles both their religions would pose, in case they would get married.
Here are more details.
Case: She was "raped" in 1995, case was filed in 1999
The man had approached the top court after both the trial and Jharkhand High Court convicted him under IPC sections 376, 323, and 341.
The case was filed in 1999, four years after the woman claimed she was raped.
She also claimed she was merely 13 at the time of the crime, but medical tests suggested she was 25 when the FIR was lodged.
Complaint: Knowing man was to marry another, woman approached police
As per the woman, she kept quiet for four years as the man promised to marry her. They were even engaged.
The realization that he was set to marry another woman forced her to approach the police and level serious allegations of rape and cheating on him.
She also said they were living as "husband and wife," for nearly four years.
Findings: They were smitten by each other, noted the court
The top court said that different religions — the woman followed Christianity and the man hailed from ST community — was the roadblock for their marriage.
"They were both smitten by each other and passions of youth ruled over their minds and emotions. The physical relations that followed were not isolated or sporadic in nature, but regular over the years," SC said.
Findings: Woman approached police at an "opportune time"
Saying that the woman lived in the man's house, the top court added that the delay of four years in registering an FIR casts doubts on the veracity of claims by the complainant.
She went to the police only seven days before the man's marriage.
The woman knew the religious boundaries, yet maintained physical relations with the man, SC added.
Details: Love letters proved woman's charges were flimsy
The court also said the woman penned "amorous love letters" to him, a fact she had denied earlier but was proved by evidence.
The three-judge bench said had the man married her, all allegations against him would have been dropped.
Saying that the man always intended to marry her and his family was nice to her, the court acquitted him of all charges.
Fact: Evidently, court wasn't convinced that woman "waited" for four years
"Under IPC Section 90, a consent given under a misconception of fact is no consent in eyes of law. But the misconception of fact has to be in proximity of time to occurrence and cannot be spread over a period of four years," SC said.