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The Delhi High Court observes that no wrongdoing can be attributed to consensual sexual acts between adults regardless of their marital status.




The High Court of Delhi has granted bail to man accused of offences under 376/354D/506 the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The accused had established physical relations with the prosecutrix on multiple occasions allegedly on the false promise of marriage.
The Counsel appearing on behalf of the applicant submitted that the present case has been registered against the applicant to harass, humiliate, and torture him, and he has been in judicial custody since 10.03.2023. It was also stated that there were material discrepancies in the FIR and the statement of the prosecutrix recorded under Section 164 of CrPC and  it was also clear from the contents of FIR, the relationship between the applicant and the prosecutrix was consensual in nature and had continued for two years.  It was further submitted that it was a case of one-sided love and an act of promiscuity on the part of the prosecutrix. That the custody of the applicant was not required for the purpose of investigation, there are no chances of the applicant absconding or fleeing from justice, and that the allegations of promise of marriage are absurd and improbable and therefore, the petitioner be granted regular bail. The Counsel further submitted that there were clear discrepancies between the complaint and statement given under Section 164 of the CrPC by the prosecutrix. Lastly, it was submitted that there was an inordinate delay of more than 1.5 years in the registration of FIR without any explanation since the alleged incident took place in the month of December, 2021 and the FIR was registered in the month of March, 2023, which created suspicion about the allegations made by the prosecutrix.    
The High Court observed thus:
The extant position of law as to when a “promise to marry” is a “false promise” or a “breach of promise” is now settled by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Pramod Suryabhan Pawar v. State of Maharashtra : (2019) 9 SCC 608, wherein the Supreme Court has expounded the same in the following words: 

“To summarise the legal position that emerges from the above cases, the “consent” of a woman with respect to Section 375 must involve an active and reasoned deliberation towards the proposed act. To establish whether the “consent” was vitiated by a “misconception of fact” arising out of a promise to marry, two propositions must be established. 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 the sexual act.”

However, at the stage of considering bail, it is neither appropriate nor feasible for the court to draw any conclusion, let alone render any finding, as to whether a promise of marriage made to the prosecutrix was false and in bad faith with no intention of being adhered to when it was given. Such determinations must await a comprehensive assessment and evaluation of evidence to be led by the parties at the trial. False allegations of sexual misconduct and coercion not only tarnish the reputation of the accused but also undermine the credibility of genuine cases. Hence, it is imperative for the Court to exercise utmost diligence in evaluating the prima facie allegations against the accused in each case, especially when issues of consent and intent are contentious.


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