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A man accused of rape can be convicted only if he has a malafide intention of not fulfilling a promise of marrying the victim, the Supreme Court on Monday said, describing the crime as an assault on the “body and privacy of the victims”.

“An accused can be convicted for rape only if the court reaches a conclusion that the intention of the accused was malafide and that he had clandestine motives,” said an apex court bench of justice BS Chauhan and justice Dipak Misra.

The court said this while setting aside a January 28, 2010, order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court related to a rape convict from Karnal in Haryana, who had eloped with his lover to get married against the wishes of their family members.

“There is a distinction between the mere breach of a promise and not fulfilling a false promise,” the court said.

“Thus, the court must examine whether a false promise of marriage was made, at an early stage, by the accused and whether the consent involved was given after wholly understanding the nature and consequences of sexual indulgence,” the judges said


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