The Bombay High Court has discharged a senior citizen from a 2015 rape case registered against him by a 61-year-old woman, noting that that they were in a consensual relationship and the physical relations were not forced.
A single bench of Justice Bharati Dangre in its order on May 4 noted that the complainant and 67-year-old accused had been together since 2005 and the relationship was between two adults who were capable of understanding the consequences of their actions.
The complainant in an FIR registered with the Pune police in 2015 had alleged that the man had forced physical relations with her on multiple occasions since 2005 under false pretext of marriage.
The man was booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for rape, molestation and criminal intimidation.
The high court in its order noted that the duo shared a consensual relationship from 2005 to 2015 when the complaint was lodged.
The complainant was 54 years old and the accused was 60 years old when the FIR was lodged.
“It was a relationship between two adults, capable of understanding the consequence of their actions, and by no stretch of imagination, it could be inferred that the physical indulgence was without the consent of the woman or against her will,” the court said.
The bench further noted that the woman was well aware that the man was already married and she had continued the relationship despite this.
The offence of rape is attracted when the act is done against will and without consent of the woman, it said.
In the present case, the relationship between the accused and the woman continued for a decade and it can be easily inferred that it was “mutual and consensual”, it observed.
“There is no reason to infer that the relationship shared was a forced one. It is also not a case where a young woman is lured into a physical relationship by a man under the pretext of marriage,” the court said.
As per the case, the woman had separated from her first husband and later remarried but lost her second husband in an accident.
The complainant used to work as a headmaster in a school in Pune where the man was a chairman. As per the complaint, the man, who was already married, claimed he was unhappy and had expressed a desire to marry her.
While the two got into a relationship in 2005, the woman lodged the complaint in 2015 claiming that he used to physically abuse her when she demanded that he marry her.