Consent, according to Oxford Dictionary, is defined as the voluntary agreement to or acquiescence in, what another proposes or desires. However, in law, various sections of various codes have different interpretations. According to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), consent means an unequivocal voluntary agreement, when a woman, by communication, verbal, or non-verbal, shows her willingness to commit a specific act.

The Apex Court was once again called upon to decide the question of ‘consent’ in cases of ‘rape’ and ‘rape due to false promise of marriage’. The petition was filed by a person, against whom an FIR was filed under Section 375 of the IPC for the rape of a woman, with whom he had lived for two years. In his petition, he prayed that the FIR be quashed as sexual intercourse between the two was based on consent. The relationship turned sour as the petitioner had married another woman. The Bench, comprising of Justices AS Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, was not inclined to consider the prayer for quashing the FIR and allowed the Petitioner to withdraw his petition, with the liberty to seek discharge.

The Advocate appearing on behalf of the Respondent- Complainant, contended that the Petitioner had lived with the woman promising marriage and had inflicted violence on her by brutally beating her. He further contended that her consent was obtained by fraud, since she believed that in 2014, a legitimate marriage had taken place between them, wherein marriage rituals were performed by them in a Hindu temple. The medical certificate of the injuries was produced as well.

The advocate appearing for the Petitioner submitted that the allegations did not make a case for rape and that the Counter-Affidavit of the Respondent clearly exhibited her consent.

The Court observed that, from the perusal of the FIR, prima facie, it could not be said that no cognizable offence could be made out against the Petitioners. The Petitioners were involved in serious offences, hence no ground existed for quashing the FIR or staying the arrest of the petitioner. Accordingly, the Bench stayed his arrest for 8 weeks.

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