The Court further clarified that mere submission due to helplessness, acquiescence, non-resistance, or passive compliance when volition is impaired by fear or coercion cannot be regarded as consent
The Orissa High Court recently acquitted an individual who had been accused of raping his sister-in-law, citing that the woman, being a married adult with prior sexual experience, did not offer resistance to the alleged forceful act.
Justice Sangam Kumar Sahoo observed that, as a married woman familiar with sexual intercourse, she could have protested or resisted the act if she had not consented.
"If the victim, who is a grown up lady and having experience of sex, fails to offer sufficient resistance to the accused who was attempting to have sex with her single-handedly, the Court may find that there was no force or the said act was not against her will," Bar And Bench reported quoting the judgment.
The Court further clarified that mere submission due to helplessness, acquiescence, non-resistance, or passive compliance when volition is impaired by fear or coercion cannot be regarded as consent.
According to the Court, in the case of non-consensual intercourse, there would likely have been visible injuries on both the victim's and the accused's bodies.
However, the Orissa High Court found no such signs of resistance on the part of the woman in this particular case.
"The evidence on record indicates that in order to save her own skin, the victim manipulated the occurrence as if the appellant was committing rape on her," the Orissa High Court judgement further added.
The woman claimed that in 2014, while passing through a forest on her way home, she was compelled to have sexual relations with the accused.
When her husband searched for her and discovered them in a compromising situation in the forest, the woman reportedly kicked the accused, prompting him to flee.
An FIR was subsequently filed, and following an investigation, a trial court found the accused guilty of rape under the Indian Penal Code. The accused then appealed the decision to the High Court.
During its examination, the High Court noted that the doctor who had conducted the woman's medical examination a day after the alleged incident confirmed the absence of physical injuries on her body.
Additionally, the Court found no evidence of bleeding injuries or signs of recent sexual activity.
Moreover, the Court found sufficient medical evidence supporting the trial court's conclusion that the human semen found on the victim's clothing did not belong to the accused.
Considering the absence of objections or opposition from the woman to the alleged sexual advances by the accused, the Orissa High Court ultimately quashed the case against him.
Advocate Chandan Samantaray represented the accused, while Advocate Manoranjan Mishra represented the State during the proceedings.