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Breach of Promise to Marriage

Breach of Promise to Marriage

The need for new rape laws in India was felt as the prevalent laws in India were not appropriate. The Supreme Court after the Delhi Gang Rape Case, 2012 had recognized the inadequacies in the laws relating to rape and had suggested that the legislature should bring about the required changes. The Law Commission had examined the entire laws relating to rape in the Indian Penal Code and had suggested a complete overhauling of the law. The new law after the 2013 Criminal Amendment made changes in Section 375 of IPC stating rape. The law expanded the definition of rape including penetration by objects or by any part and also included the seven clauses of rape.

As per clauses second, third, fourth and fifth of Section 375, Rape is committed if the man has sexual intercourse with a women without her consent or if the consent has been obtained by force or fraud, or if there is a consent obtained by a misconception of fact. Section 90 of the IPC defines consent. It states that an invalid consent is one whereby the consent is obtained under fear of injury or misconception of fact.The questions now to be closely dealt with is, firstly, whether consent obtained in the pretext of a false promise to marry is a valid consent or not and, secondly, whether sexual intercourse after such a consent will amount to rape or not.

The Supreme Court of India held that sex based on false promise of marriage can be rape in certain cases. The court observed that there is a clear distinction between rape and consensual sex. [1] Also, it is the duty of the court to very carefully examine whether the accused had actually wanted to marry the victim or had mala fide intentions [2]. If the accused had made a false promise to marry, it will fall within the ambit of cheating or deception [3]. Also, there is a difference between mere breach of marriage or not fulfilling a false promise [4]. It was further examined whether the consent involved was given after wholly understanding the nature and consequences of the sexual act [5]. When there is ‘promise to marry’ in question the courts have had two faces of judgments. Firstly, consent obtained by false promise of marriage is an invalid consent and it will further amount to rape [6]. Secondly, a promise to future marriage is not really the misconception of fact and a man can change his mind whenever he wants to[7]. Based on these two faces, the conclusion drawn by the court in various cases is the intention of the man who thus promises to marry which is to be considered. [8] If it is proved that the man had no intention to marry since the very beginning, it will amount to rape. [9] However if the man had the intention to marry, but failed to marry the girl due to some reason, some circumstances or a change of mind, it will not amount to rape [10].

Henceforth it is very clear from the above article that there is still no certainty that sex with a false promise to marriage would amount to rape. The fact that whether sex with a false promise to marriage amounts to rape would depend upon the circumstances and determined by the court upon the circumstances prevalent. The researcher is of the conclusion that the law regarding the same should have a little certainty as such cases are immense.

1. Deepak Gulati Vs. State of Haryana; Criminal Appeal No: 2332 of 2010
2. Uday Vs. State of Karnataka; Criminal Appeal No: 336 of 1996.
3. Arjun Gupta Vs. State of Jharkhand; Criminal Appeal No: 1116 of 2013.
4. Mir Wali Mohammed Kalu Vs. State of Bihar; Cr. Misc. No.: 3128 of 1984.
5. Abhoy Pradhan Vs. State of West Bengal; Criminal Appeal No: 351 of 1998.
6. Anjinappa Vs. State of Karnataka; Criminal Appeal No: 1833 of 2006.
7. Md. Jakir Ali Vs. The State of Assam; 2007CriLJ1615.
8. Sujit Ranjan Vs. State; Criminal Appeal No: 248 of 2010.
9. Bipul Medhi Vs. State of Assam; 2008CriLJ1099.
10. Sujit Ranjan Vs. State; Criminal Appeal No: 249 of 2010.

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