Sex on the promise of marriage: HC acquits man

‘Consent given by woman cannot be held as misconception of fact’

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court acquitted a Madurai man, accused of sexual assault of a woman on the promise of marrying her and subsequently ending the relationship. The court observed that the woman had not resisted the first time the two had physical relations and it “amounted to pre-consent”. The court said the consent given by the woman could not be held as a misconception of fact. The court took note of the fact that they were in a relationship.

Justice R. Pongiappan acquitted the man of all charges and the conviction and sentence imposed by the Madurai Mahila Court were set aside. The Mahila court had sentenced the man to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment in 2016. He filed the criminal appeal, seeking to set aside the judgment of the trial court. The court allowed the appeal.

The case of the prosecution was that due to the sexual assault committed by the accused, the woman had become pregnant. The court took into account the fact that the woman had complained about the act after two-and-a-half months. She had specifically stated before the trial court that the two were in a relationship. It was not found anywhere in the evidence that he had given a definite date or a timeline to marry her. The circumstances revealed that the man had promised to marry her after the completion of his brother’s marriage. Acting on this assurance, they continued the relationship.

When she conceived, she insisted that they get married soon. The man is said to have suggested abortion. When this was not accepted by the woman, the man went back on the promise to marry her. Subsequently, a complaint was lodged against him and he was booked for sexual assault, the court said.

The court observed, “Therefore, the non-raising of resistance at the time of committing the sexual assault, as from the first time by the accused, it amounts to pre-consent. Accordingly, the consent given by the victim girl cannot be held as a misconception of fact.” The judge said he doubted the medical evidence and whether truth was told in the complaint.

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