Case Summary: G. Achyut Kumar vs. State of Odisha

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Name of the case-

G. Achyut Kumar vs. State of Odisha CRLA No. 940 of 2019

 Court-

High Court of Odisha

Date of Judgment-

21st May, 2020

Applicable laws-

Section 375, 376, 493, 313 and 493 of IPC

Section 3(2)(v) SC & ST (PoA) Act, 2015

Name of Judge-

Justice S.K. Panigrahi

Referred cases-

Jayanti Rani Panda vs. State of West Bengal and Ors. 1984 Cri.L.J. 1535 (Calcutta)

Hari Majhi v. The State 1990 Cri. L.J. 650 ( Calcutta)

Mir Wali Mohammad vs. The State of Bihar 1990(2) PLJR 375 (Patna HC)

Arak Sk. vs State of West Bengal 2001 Cri.L.J. 416 Calcutta HC

Shaleha Khatoon v State of Bihar 1989 Crl. L.J.202 (Patna HC)

Uday vs. State of Karnataka (2003) 4 SCC 46

Holman v. The Queen [1970] W.A.R. 2

Yedla Srinibas v State of Andhra Pradesh 9(2006) 11 SCC 615

Vinod Kumar v State of Kerala 10(2014 5 SCC 678)

Anurag Soni V State of Chhattisgarh 2019 (6) SCALE 211

Promod Surayabhan Pawar v The State of Maharashtra and Ors. (2019) 9 SCC,608

Facts of the case-

Victim was a girl of 19 year age, and belongs to SC category. According to victim she and the appellant were resident of same village. The appellant also have given victim a mobile phone for communication during the time of their relationship of 4 years. The appellant had promised the victim to marry her, taking advantage of her innocence appellant make sexual relationship. During this time the victim got pregnant twice and she was forcefully given pills for abortion.

However the medical reports suggest no sexual intercourse but intercourse in past can’t be determined. Also there are no injury marks on victim’s body. Further the victim was not pregnant at the time of medical report taken.

The sessions court find accused guilty of rape as per section 375 IPC. And guilty for crime under section 313 and 493 IPC. The appellant then challenge the judgment in HC.

Issue before the court-

The issue before the court is whether sexual relationship on the fake promise of marriage amounts to Rape or not.

Arguments of the appellant-

The appellant’s counsel argued before that court that he was never involved in a criminal activity and his track record was clear. Also victim is a major, if all of her love relationship is from last four years then it’s not the case of section 375. And the probability of the love relationship between boy and the girl is also low. The boy is a student with bright future.

Arguments of the respondent-

The counsel of the respondent argued that the victim and the appellant were acquaintance since long time and by taking advantage of her innocence appellant establishes sexual relations. She was cohered to terminate her pregnancy twice. Thus the appellant committed an offence punishable under section 376 IPC. Hence the accused not entitled for bail.

Judgment-

S.K. Panigrahi, J delivered the judgment.

  1.  He said that victim is a major girl with sound mind hence there is no question of anyone who influence victim to sexual relations with assurance to marriage. This could be case of experimental sexual autonomy.
  2. He further explained section 375 and case of consensual rape. He said that rape is certain sexual act which committed on victim under the following seven cases- firstly against her will, second without her consent, third with her consent when consent is obtained under fear or death or hurt, fourth when consent is given in wrong belief of the man as her husband, fifth when the consent given when she is unsoundness if mind or intoxicated, sixth consent of a girl under age of 18, seventh when she is in a position to not gave consent.

However, none of these cover false promise of marriage.

  1. Honourable Justice also cited several other judgments regarding this issue.

The Calcutta HC in Jayanti Rani Panda vs. State of West Bengal and Ors. held that consent of full grown girl to sexual intercourse on promise of marriage cannot be treated as an induced by misconception.

And in Mir Wali Mohhammad vs. The State of Bihar, it was held that consent obtained on misconception of fact is no consent.

Also in Arak SK. vs. State of West Bengal, held that the act of accused in abandoning the girl he promised to marry on her becoming pregnant is highly reprehensible, such conduct however did not become a ground for holding accused guilty of charges of rape.

In Uday vs. State of Karnataka held that false promise of marriage led into consent into misconception and hence consent is vitiated.

Holam v the Queen held that consent to intercourse may be hesitating, reluctant and grudging.

In Anuraj Soni vs. State of Chhattisgarh , the court made a distinction between a promise which is unfulfilled and a promise which is false from the very beginning i.e. if a man prove that he intended to marry the women but changed his mind later, then its not rape. Its only considered rape if its established that he had dubious intentions from beginning of the relationship.

In Promod Suryabham Pawar vs. The State of Maharashtra and Ors., the court gave two propositions that must be satisfied to establish that the consent was vitiated by misconception. These were- firstly, the promise of marriage must have been a false promise, given in bad faith and with no intention of being adhered to at the time it was given. The false promise itself must be of immediate relevance. Or bear a direct nexus to the woman’s decision to engage in sexual act.

Also some other cases were sited.

  1. Hence on basis of facts and precedents honorable justice held that, rape laws should not be used to regulate intimate relationship especially where the women have the agency to choose.

Also the present issue of false promise of marriage is not a component of section 375 IPC.375 clearly says when consent means no consent, and fake promise is not one of it. The law holding false promise of marriage seems to be erroneous.

He further said that it is equally disturbing that socially disadvantage and poor segment of society, who are often made into sex by fake promise of marriage and dumped when become pregnant. The rape law often fails to capture their plight.

Held that sexual relationship on fake promise is not rape hence granted bail to the appellant.

Image from- https://www.thedailystar.net/opinion/news/rape-its-not-all-about-patriarchy-1796575

This case summary is written by Srishti Rajpoot, a 2nd year law student of Gautam Buddha University, Greater Noida.

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