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Mere friendship with woman is not consent for sexual relationship: Bombay HC

The Bombay High Court recently held that merely sharing a friendly relationship with a woman does not permit a man to take her for granted and construe it as her consent to establish a physical relationship.

A single-judge bench of Justice Bharati H Dangre on June 24, while rejecting anticipatory bail to a man booked for allegedly raping a woman on the pretext of marriage, said his friendly relationship with her did not give him the license to force himself upon her.

Justice Dangre was hearing an anticipatory bail application filed by one Ashish Chakor, a city resident, arrested in connection with an FIR lodged against him by the complainant.

As per the prosecution, the complainant and the applicant, who were briefly acquainted with each other, visited a common friend’s house in 2019, where the applicant allegedly forced himself on her.

Though she opposed his act, he expressed his liking for her and promised he would marry her soon. The physical relationship continued until the girl became pregnant, after which she confronted the applicant. He refused to marry her or take responsibility for the pregnancy. Instead, he pointed out her ‘bad character’ and accused her of being in a relationship with some other person. Even after these claims, he allegedly had forcible sexual intercourse with her once again.

The police booked the man for allegedly raping the 22-year-old complainant based on incidents that took place between May 17, 2019 and April 27, 2022.

The bench held, “This friendship with the person of fairer sex does not confer a licence upon a man to force himself upon her, when she specifically refused copulation. Every woman expects ‘respect’ in a relationship, be it in the nature of friendship based on mutual affection. Here is the applicant, who is accused of maintaining a sexual relationship on the pretext of marriage, but when the complainant conceived, he walked out alleging that pregnancy carried by her is on account of her relationship with other persons.”

Referring to the girl’s complaint, the bench noted she developed a liking for the applicant, but her version, as far as the sexual relationship was concerned, was that she permitted it since the applicant promised her marriage.

“The accusations faced by the applicant definitely require a thorough investigation to ascertain the version of the prosecutrix that she was forced to give her consent for sex. The application is rejected,” Justice Dangre held.

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