Allahbad High Courts - 28th June 2024

The Allahabad Court stated that laws on sexual offenses being women-centric doesn’t mean the male partner is always at fault.


The Allahabad High Court affirmed the acquittal of a man who was charged with rape. The court highlighted that although rules regarding sexual offenses are primarily focused on women, this does not imply that the male partner is always at blame. The Division Bench emphasized that both the accused and the complainant have the burden of proof in these types of instances.

 Facts of the Case:

The victim’s 2019 police complaint served as the basis for the case. She said that after falsely promising to marry her, the accused had started a sexual connection with her but had later declined to marry her. She also said that he had made disparaging remarks regarding her caste. The accused was then charged in 2020 under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, as well as Sections 376 (punishment for rape) and 323 (voluntarily causing pain) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The trial court found him guilty simply of violating Section 323 IPC and cleared him of the rape charge. The victim appealed the trial court’s verdict.

Petitioner’s Argument:

The complainant argued that the accused had exploited her sexually for five years under the pretense of marriage. She contended that this promise, coupled with derogatory remarks about her caste, constituted rape and warranted conviction under the SC/ST Act.

 Respondent’s Argument

In response, the accused said that the partnership was voluntary. When he found out that the complainant was not from the ‘Yadav’ caste as she had stated, he allegedly refused to marry her. He went on to say that any promise of marriage was nullified by the fact that the complainant was already wed to another man.

Court’s Observations

Both parties were adults, according to the Division Bench, and they were aware of the consequences of their relationship. The complainant split from the other man two years after they were married in 2010.  The Complainant, however, continued to see the accused for five years, demonstrating her assent. Her rejection of the prior marriage and her ignorance of her name being in the family registry were deemed by the court to be insufficient evidence.

The Bench observed “No doubt, chapter XVI “Sexual Offences”, is a women centric enactment to protect the dignity and honor of a lady and girl and rightly so, but while assessing the circumstances, it is not the only and every time the male partner is at wrong, the burden is upon both of them. It is unswallowable proposition that a weaker sex is being used by the male partner for five good years and she keep on permitting him on so called false pretext of marriage.”

The Bench also discussed whether the SC/ST Act applied, pointing out that the complainant had not provided evidence to support her caste claim. The court observed that in these kinds of situations, determining the veracity of the relationship claims depends greatly on the castes of the people concerned.

Court’s Judgment

The court found that the accused had been properly acquitted by the trial court. It said that the connection seemed to be voluntary, and that the complainant’s prior marriage made any marriage vows meaningless. The complainant’s claims under the SC/ST Act were weakened by the court’s emphasis that both parties had entered into the relationship voluntarily and that she was unable to provide proof of her caste. The trial court’s decision to clear the accused of the rape charge was upheld when the appeal was dismissed.

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