The Supreme Court in the case Naim Ahamed V State (NCT of Delhi)  held that it would be a folly to treat each breach of promise to marry as a false promise and to prosecute a person for the offence under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code.

Each case would depend upon its proved facts before the court, the court has added.

A division bench of the Supreme Court made these observations while setting aside a sentence of 10 years awarded to one Naim Ahamed.

In the case at hand, the prosecutrix was a married woman having three children who developed a liking for the accused who was staying in a tenanted premises situated in front of her house. Both started having a sexual relationship and the prosecutrix delivered a male child, fathered by the accused.

The prosecutrix went to the native place of the accused in 2012 and came to know that he was a married man having children, but she still continued to live with the accused in separate premises. The prosecutrix and her husband took divorce by mutual consent in 2014 and thereafter prosecutrix permanently left her three children with her husband. Later on, she lodged a complaint alleging that she had consented for sexual relationship with the accused as the accused had promised her to marry and subsequently did not marry her.

The top court pertinently noted that there is a difference between giving a false promise and committing breach of promise by the accused.

“In case of false promise, the accused right from the beginning would not have any intention to marry the prosecutrix and would have cheated or deceited the prosecutrix by giving a false promise to marry her only with a view to satisfy his lust, whereas in case of breach of promise, one cannot deny a possibility that the accused might have given a promise with all seriousness to marry her, and subsequently might have encountered certain circumstances unforeseen by him or the circumstances beyond his control, which prevented him to fulfill his promise”, a bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and Bela M Trivedi noted.

Court further held that, the prosecutrix who herself was a married woman having three children, could not be said to have acted under the alleged false promise given by the accused-appellant or under the misconception of fact while giving the consent to have sexual relationship with him.

“Undisputedly, she continued to have such relationship with him at least for about five years till she gave complaint in the year 2015. Even if the allegations made by her in her deposition before the court, are taken on their face value, then also to construe such allegations as ‘rape’ by the appellant, would be stretching the case too far. The prosecutrix being a married woman and the mother of three children was matured and intelligent enough to understand the significance and the consequences of the moral or immoral quality of act she was consenting to”, the bench held in conclusion.

Written by Adv Rohit Yadav

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