Consensual sex not rape, rules Madras HC— By FPJ Bureau, July 07, 2014 12:14 am
"Even if it is assumed that the girl agreed to sexual intercourse with the accused on the promise of marriage, the charge under Section 417 of IPC (cheating) cannot be sustained in the absence of evidence." – Madras High Court
Chennai : In a controversial verdict, the Madras High Court has approved an out of court conciliation by a man who was involved in a sexual liaison with a woman on the false promise of marriage. Holding that consensual sex between adults would not constitute rape. Justice Aruna Jagadeesan of the (Madurai Bench) has allowed the man, convicted of rape, to walk free after serving a mere eight months in jail.
In August 2013, a Mahila Judge in Salem in western Tamil Nadu had convicted a driver Manikandan to undergo 10 year rigorous imprisonment on charges of raping the woman and three years jail term for cheating her. The prosecution's charge against the accused was that during 2010 the accused had sexual relationship with the girl, who was then aged 21, on the promise of marrying her. Later, he reneged on the promise.
Manikandan, who came out on bail after serving jail for eight months, appealed in the High Court against his conviction arguing that he had only a consensual relationship with the girl. During the hearing of the appeal petition, the woman also informed the court that she had agreed for a compromise with the accused who paid her one lakh rupees to settle the issue. The woman also said she had married another man and was leading a good life.
Recording the conciliation between the man and the girl, the judge held that both the parties were major at the time of the sexual liaison. The accused cannot be held guilty of rape on the mere ground that he had physical relationship with her on the promise of marriage.
The judge said, "Even if it is assumed that the girl agreed to sexual intercourse with the accused on the promise of marriage, the charge under Section 417 of IPC (cheating) cannot be sustained in the absence of evidence to show that the said representation by the accused was false at the time it was made."
Since the girl is also now married and agreed for a compromise, the judge said "the matter should not be given a quietus" and modified the prison term of the convict to the eight-month period that he was in jail.