The recent Supreme Court ruling in the case of Ajeet Singh vs. State of Uttar Pradesh has sparked discussion after the Court quashed a criminal case against the accused-appellant. The appellant was accused of raping a 25-year-old woman under the pretext of marriage. Justices Abhay S. Oka and Pankaj Mithal observed that the relationship between the appellant and the victim evolved into a consensual one that ultimately resulted in marriage, dismissing the basis of the allegation that the physical relationship was founded on false promises of marriage.
The case revolved around allegations made by the victim’s father, claiming that the appellant, who was running IIT coaching classes in Delhi, had assured his daughter of marriage. The appellant purportedly even arranged a marriage certificate from Arya Samaj Mandir, following which a physical relationship ensued. Subsequently, the appellant left the victim at her father’s residence, leading to the filing of a complaint against him.
However, pivotal evidence surfaced during the proceedings. The appellant’s counsel presented a notice issued by the victim’s advocate, wherein the victim acknowledged the solemnization of marriage with the appellant and referred to herself as his wife. Additionally, she alleged being turned away from the matrimonial home due to a demand for Rs.50 lakhs by the appellant’s father, prompting her to seek “Vidai.”
Further bolstering the appellant’s stance, the victim’s statement before the police confirmed the marriage solemnization at Arya Samaj Mandir.
Examining these facts, the Court concluded that the relationship between the appellant and the victim was consensual and culminated in marriage. As a result, the Court overturned the FIR against the appellant.
The legal significance of this judgment lies in its interpretation of consensual relationships leading to marriage and the evaluation of allegations in cases of sexual assault based on promised matrimony. The Court highlighted the importance of substantial evidence in determining the nature of relationships and the veracity of claims in such sensitive cases. The acknowledgment of a consensual relationship that ultimately materialized into marriage was crucial in nullifying the allegations against the appellant.
This ruling by the Supreme Court underscores the necessity of examining evidence meticulously in cases where physical relationships are alleged to have occurred on the basis of false promises of marriage. It emphasizes the need to consider the evolving dynamics of relationships and the subsequent actions and acknowledgments of the involved parties.
Section 375 IPC
Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) is the legal cornerstone defining the crime of rape in the country. It states that a man commits rape if he engages in sexual intercourse with a woman against her will, without her consent, or under certain circumstances where the consent is deemed invalid. These circumstances include situations where consent is obtained through coercion, deception, or when the woman is incapable of comprehending the nature and implications of the act. Additionally, if the woman is under 18 years old, any sexual intercourse, regardless of consent, is categorized as rape under this law.
The section outlines various scenarios that render sexual acts as non-consensual, including instances where consent is given under the influence of substances, mental incapacity, or under duress due to threats of harm. It takes into account cases where consent is based on a misconception of facts or when obtained out of fear for one’s safety or life.
Section 375 IPC is designed to protect the sexual autonomy and dignity of women. It criminalizes any form of sexual activity conducted without explicit and genuine consent, emphasizing the crucial importance of mutual agreement in any sexual engagement.
The judgment In Ajeet Singh vs. State of Uttar Pradesh reaffirms the principle that mere allegations, without substantial evidence, may not suffice to justify the continuation of criminal proceedings. It also serves as a reminder for the judiciary to carefully scrutinize the evidence presented before arriving at conclusions in cases involving sensitive matters like consent, promises of marriage, and physical relationships.
In conclusion, the Court’s decision in this case showcases the importance of a comprehensive assessment of evidence to ascertain the nature of relationships and addresses the legal intricacies surrounding allegations of sexual assault predicated on promised matrimony.