Indulging in consensual sex with a woman under the false promise of marrying her might not fall under Section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code but it is certainly a punishable offence under Section 417 (cheating) of the IPC, the Madras High Court Bench here has said.
Justice M. Venugopal made the observation while dismissing a criminal appeal filed by an individual challenging his conviction under Section 417 by a Mahila Court here on July 31 on charges of having sexual intercourse with his neighbour for over a year and then marrying some other woman.
Though an All Women Police Station at Thirumangalam near here had booked the appellant, M. Selvakumar, under both the Sections, the trial court had convicted him only for the charge of cheating and ordered him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for six months apart from one more month if he failed to pay the fine amount of Rs. 1,000.
Challenging the conviction order, the appellant claimed that he had been framed in the case by the complainant with an ulterior motive.
He also contended that the complaint had been lodged after a long delay and there was no mention in it about the exact dates on which the alleged offence had taken place.
Rejecting all the contentions, the judge said the victim woman had categorically stated that she resisted and prevented his attempts to have sexual intercourse on the day when he hugged her for the first time. Subsequently, she gave in when he continued to contact her with the promise of tying the nuptial knot.
As per the evidence adduced by other witnesses, including the victim’s father and mother, they came to know about the affair only after a year. Immediately, attempts were made to resolve the issue amicably through the interference of village elders. But the convict refused to marry the victim.
It was only after the lodging of the police complaint that he entered into wedlock with another woman, the judge said and held that his actions would squarely amount to cheating the victim with a mala fide intention.
He directed the trial court to take appropriate steps for incarcerating the convict by cancelling suspension of his sentence.