September 5, 2023
In a recent ruling, the Delhi High Court has emphasised that the judicial system cannot be used to pressure accused individuals into marriage. The court’s decision came as it dismissed anticipatory bail to an accused facing charges under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code concerning sexual offences.
The bench, presided over by Justice Swarna Kanta Sharma, delivered this significant judgment on September 4, 2023. The case revolved around a complainant who had accused the applicant of sexual misconduct and subsequently pressed for their marriage.
Legal should not be manipulated
The court, in its order, underscored that the legal system should not be manipulated to settle personal scores or coerce parties into taking specific actions to achieve particular goals. Justice Sharma stated, “Needless to say, the judicial system cannot be used either to settle scores with each other or pressure any party to act in a particular manner to reach one’s goal.”
The court made it clear that courts should not act as facilitators for matrimonial matters, whether that involves pressuring the accused into marrying the victim or compelling the complainant to make such a request to secure the accused’s bail.
The case in question involved allegations from the victim, who claimed that she had come into contact with the accused in 2015 while both were employed in different locations. Over time, the victim alleged that the accused had insisted on a relationship, which she initially rejected but eventually agreed to after several years.
Furthermore, the victim claimed that the accused had taken her to a hotel under the pretext of marriage, leading to physical relations. The accused had also purportedly taken her to a temple and given the impression that they were married, making promises of a proper marriage later. The victim alleged that she had repeatedly requested a civil court marriage, but the accused continued to exploit her on various pretexts.
The court’s decision to deny anticipatory bail was based on the need for a thorough investigation to ascertain the truth of these allegations. Justice Sharma explained, “The truth has to prevail by investigating allegations for which custodial interrogation of the accused may be required for the purpose of confronting the complainant and also the accused to reach the truth.”
This ruling reinforces the principle that the legal system should focus on impartial investigations and uphold justice, rather than being used to exert pressure or manipulate personal relationships.
As this case continues to develop, it serves as a reminder of the importance of the judiciary’s role in upholding the law and ensuring that justice prevails without being influenced by external pressures.