The Delhi High Court has stayed a trial court’s order for registration of an FIR against a man for rape, noting the alleged victim had herself said in her complaint that the two had married in a Buddhist ceremony.
The court said there was a fundamental doubt about whether the ingredients of the offence have been disclosed.
The high court noted it was the complainant woman’s own stand that she went through a Buddhist marriage ceremony with the man in Taiwan and that she has also filed several proceedings against the man based on the premise that she is the lawfully wedded wife of the petitioner.
“If that be the stand of respondent No. 2 (woman), then the principal offence under section 375 (rape) IPC would not be made out, since the promise of marriage cannot be said to have been false,” Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani said in a March 29 order.
He said, at this stage, the court does not wish to dwell any further or make any comments on the matter except to say that registration of an FIR would certainly impact the man since in the opinion of this court registration of an FIR against a person carries with it a stigma and a cloud apart from subjecting the person to other legal consequences.
The woman, in her police complaint, claimed the man, who was a divorcee, induced her into having physical relations with him on a false promise of marriage after which she also conceived a child.
She alleged in December 2018, she and the man went through a Buddhist marriage ceremony in Taiwan, which was also attended by close friends. However, the man later denied he had ever got married to her.
Thereafter, the woman lodged a complaint seeking an FIR against the man for the alleged offences of rape, cheating, stalking, voyeurism and wrongful restraint, among others.
Initially, the magisterial court rejected the woman’s plea for lodging an FIR. She challenged the order before the sessions court which ordered registration of an FIR against the man.
The man then approached the high court which stayed the trial court’s order and sought the response of the police and the woman on his plea seeking setting aside of the lower court’s March 27 order.
The high court noted the man and the woman have been locked in a legal battle on issues of maintenance claimed by her, as also in relation to visitation rights and custody of their child.
The counsel for the man submitted the two have had a relationship over a period of time from which the disputes have arisen and that despite the ongoing legal battles between the parties, a rape complaint was made much later on July 11, 2022. The counsel said the rape allegation was ex-facie malafide and made for ulterior motives.
The counsel for the woman said mere registration of FIR does not prejudice the man in any manner and the filing of the present petition challenging the order for lodging an FIR is premature.
The high court said, ordinarily, if the ingredients of a cognisable offence are made out, the law requires an FIR to be registered.
“However, in the present case, the court entertains a fundamental doubt as to whether the requisite ingredients are disclosed, since even on a demurrer, respondent no. 2 (woman) herself alleges that she is the petitioner’s lawfully wedded wife,” it said.
The high court stayed the operation of the order of the trial court till May 29, the next date of hearing.