Calcutta, July 11: The high court said today physical intimacy on the promise of marriage amounted to rape if the commitment of matrimony was not fulfilled.
The court rejected the bail plea of Kalipada Garu, 32, who had courted a physically challenged woman for two years but did not marry. He was arrested late last month from Ramnagar in East Midnapore on charges of rape brought about by the woman.
Additional public prosecutor Asimesh Goswami cited a Supreme Court directive and said in this case, the woman had given consent on the condition that Garu would marry her. “But as the man did not, the condition was not fulfilled and so it amounts to rape,” he argued.
Garu, a Trinamul Congress worker and member of a gram panchayat, was courting the woman from an economically backward class who used to come to his house to tutor his nephew and niece.
Members of his family and some of the neighbours knew about the relationship and it was more or less a foregone conclusion that they would get married.
Garu had taken her on tours to Digha, Shankarpur and Haldia. But on June 11, he married someone else. The jilted woman pulled herself together and lodged a complaint in the court of the sub-divisional judicial magistrate of Contai, alleging rape against the man she had hoped to live with.
She told the judicial magistrate Garu had slept with her promising that they will get married, sooner or later.
The magistrate ordered the Ramnagar police station to conduct an inquiry and arrest Garu if the allegations against him were found true. The police spoke to his family and neighbours and gathered evidence in support of the woman. Garu was arrested on June 28.
He moved the high court and pleaded for bail. The case came up today before Justice .A. Chowdhury and Arunava Barua.
Garu’s counsel, Himangshu Dey, argued that the case did not amount to rape as hundreds of men and women court each other before marriage.
The additional public prosecutor then referred to the apex court directive. He said a sexual intercourse could be described as rape if there was no consent on the part of the woman. “But in this case, the consent was on condition that Kalipada (Garu) would marry her, which he did not. This amounts to rape.”