Shubh Arora from the National Law University, Delhi writes on the topic of rape by false promise of marriage.


For decades now, the Indian judiciary has recognized that sex obtained by deception amounts to rape. The focus of deceptive sex, however, is concentrated on false promise of marriage. The significance of the institution of marriage in India and its ability to grant legitimacy to sexual relationships in our social context, rightly justify the special focus. The courts need to be appreciated for correctly acknowledging the complexities that surround the cases of rape by false promise of marriage. However, the judgments on the offence are marked by several flaws. These flaws are reflected in the form of unsound reasoning and unpalatable observations. These errors have not been rectified by the Supreme Court in its judgments. Consequently, decisions of various High Courts are replete with markers of unfairness.

This paper attempts to highlight the factors courts account for while deciding such cases. These factors are critically analyzed to bring to the fore the need of urgent correction, especially due to changes in the Indian social terrain. It is proposed that the considerations reflecting legitimate concerns need to be preserved whereas the flawed logic and opinions need to be weeded out. This will ensure that the law on intercourse obtained by false promise of marriage meets the touchstones of justice and fairness.