Putting Vermilion on a women’s forehead confirms the intention of marriage: Allahabad HC

Putting Vermilion on a women’s forehead confirms the intention of marriage: Allahabad HC

The Allahabad HC recently refused to quash a rape case against a man, by stating that putting vermilion by the accused on the forehead of the complainant woman conveyed his intention/promise to marry her (Vipin Kumar v. State of Uttar Pradesh).

Single judge, Justice Vivek Agarwal, said that smearing vermilion on a woman’s forehead indicated an intention to accept her as a life partner.

“In this case, in terms of intention and motive, they will be subject to final scrutiny in the trial, but prima facie, two facts i.e. knowledge about the applicant’s family tradition and another act by the applicant to apply vermilion on the head of the prosecutrix, which is not only important in Hindu tradition and rituals but also has a lot of significance as an intention to show that the person smearing the vermilion has accepted the other person as his spouse/life partner, “the order stated.

The Court was hearing an appeal filed by Vipin Kumar who applied for the cancellation of the summoning order dated 22 December 2020 which was approved by the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Shahjahanpur in a rape case.

The applicant also sought to terminate the charge sheet filed against him and all the further proceedings of the case on the grounds that the complainant/victim had consensual sex with the accused.

Kumar, who is working with the Border Road Organization, had allegedly sent a friend request to the victim on Facebook. After some hesitation, when the victim learned of the fact that the accused was known to her through a common associate, she accepted his request and they began to communicate.

Later, under the guise of contracting marriage with her, he asked her to come to Hardoi from where they travelled to Lucknow. The accused allegedly established a physical relationship with the victim in a hotel room, after promising to marry her as soon as he resumes his vacation after joining work. The victim had agreed reluctantly to such a relationship, the FIR said.

Later, Kumar allegedly refused to marry the victim on the grounds that the women of Kumar’s family were already married to the woman’s family, and thus they could not have a woman from that family.

It was pointed out by the Additional Government Advocate that the accused performed a ceremony named ‘Maangbharai’, which is symbolic but is very important in the Indian culture and tradition.

The Court accepted this, considering that the applicant’s action of carrying out the Maangbharai ceremony was proof that he had entered into a physical relationship with the promise of marriage.

The Court stated that in order to determine whether the consent was vitiated by an “erroneous view of truth” that arose as a result of the promise of marriage, two propositions must be made:

First of all, the promise of marriage must have been a false promise, given in bad faith and with absolutely no intention of adhering to the same. 

Second, the false promise itself must be of immediate importance or carry a direct link to a woman’s decision to engage in sexual activity.

The day, on which the applicant made the promise of marriage, he knew that according to his custom and family tradition, he would not be able to marry the girl with whom he was making a promise of marriage in order to establish a physical relationship. Secondly, also the fact that the applicant carried out the ‘Maangbharai’ ceremony is also proof that he entered in a physical relationship on the promise to marry her, despite knowing that according to his family traditions, he would not be able to marry the girl in question, ”the Court said.

Therefore, the summoning order passed by the lower court was refused to be quashed.