A case where a man allegedly took a woman to his home and assaulted her with his belt, the Supreme Court held the facts do not prove a case of abduction with intention to compel her to marry him, which is an offence under Section 366 of the IPC.
The court said, at “the highest”, the couple were in a “relationship” and the event occurred due to an “outburst of emotions.”
Mere abduction does not bring an accused under the ambit of Section 366 of the Indian Penal Code, the court said. The penal provision prescribes a punishment of 10 years’ imprisonment if found guilty.
It must further be proved that the accused abducted the woman with the intent that she may be compelled to marry against her will or forced or seduced to illicit intercourse, the judgment delivered by a Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and R.K. Agrawal observed.
The judgment came in a 15-year-old case based on a complaint filed by a woman that after a birthday party of a common friend on September 6, 2003, in Mumbai, the alleged assailant offered her a lift to the venue of the dinner.
Instead, he took her to his home, where he forcibly pulled her out of his car and took her into his home. He allegedly assaulted her, proclaiming his love and beat her with his waist belt. The man’s father, on returning home and finding her, took her to her home.
Almost a week later, on September 12, an FIR was registered under various sections of the IPC.
On September 19, the woman gave a statement that she was molested. She explained that she did not state this earlier due to embarrassment.
But the top court remained unconvinced about the veracity of her statement, indicating it was an afterthought. The judgment said the allegations of removing her clothes and touching her inappropriately or molestation was also added afterwards.
“The primary allegations are that Respondent No. 2 (accused) took her forcibly to his house. But it was not with intent to seduce her to illicit intercourse. Actually, as per the prosecutrix, Respondent No. 2 first expressed his love for her and afterwards he started beating her with waist belt and using his hands which fact is evident on record. The statement of being molested at the hands of Respondent No. 2 was not given at once and was given later. The very same acts of Respondent No. 2 do not show his intent to abduct her in order to marry her against her will or to force her or seduce her to illicit intercourse,” the court concluded.
The court asked the lower court to complete the trial in six months.>