Karnataka HC orders police to invoke Section 377 against husband who forced his wife for unnatural sex

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The Karnataka High Court recently pulled up the State police for its shoddy probe in a complaint filed by a wife accusing her husband of forcing her to have unnatural sex with him [Vikram Vincent vs State of Karnataka].

Single-judge Justice M Nagaprasanna was hearing a plea filed by a woman seeking directions to the police authorities to conduct further probe in her complaint lodged in 2017 alleging that her husband forced her for unnatural sex and on her refusal tortured, harassed and even assaulted her physically.

The complaint further stated that the husband clicked some obscene photos of the complainant-wife and even shot some video clips which he later circulated to her father and some friends on social media platforms WhatsApp and Facebook.

However, the Bangalore City Police in its chargesheet filed in September 26, 2019 didn’t invoke either section 377 (unnatural sex) of Indian Penal Code or the relevant provisions of the Information and Technology (IT) Act, 2000.

Instead, the chargesheet only made out a case of domestic violence i.e. a 498 A case against the husband. This fact, Justice Nagaprasanna said, revealed how shoddy the probe had been.

“The crime was no doubt registered for all the offences, but the shady probe conducted by the jurisdictional police (Bangalore City Police) has led to filing of a charge sheet only for an offence under Section 498A of the IPC. Therefore, this becomes a classic case where the investigation has been so shoddy that a further investigation in to the matter is needed,” the Court said.

The judge further said that it is high time that the Director General of Police (DGP) should take stock of such shoddy investigations and deal strictly with the concerned investigating officers.

“In view of the preceding analysis, it also becomes a case where the head of the department, either the State or the Commissioner of Police should take stock of such shoddy investigations by investigating officers, who either lack competence or deliberately indulge in such investigations. It is high time the head of the Department sets its house in order, by appropriately dealing with such investigating officers on the departmental side,” the order passed on May 25 stated.

The Court also ordered that further probe would be required in the present case and that the same should be handed over to some other officer.

As per the facts of the case, the woman and the husband, both from Bangalore, became friends while pursuing their PhD at IIT-Bombay in 2013 and later on the couple got married in 2015. She claimed that soon after the marriage, the husband started forcing her for unnatural sex and upon refusal he would often assault her.

She later left the matrimonial house and went to her parents’ house in Raipur, however, the husband convinced her and brought her back but there wasn’t any change in his behaviour. She claimed that he would force her to have sexual relationships with other men or even for group sex.

Finally, she left his place on January 4, 2016, which is within six months of the marriage and has been living separately since then. But the husband continued to convince her to return to his house and on her final refusal he circulated some obscene photos and videos to her family and friends.

Taking note of the allegations, the Court said that if the provisions of law, the complaint lodged by the victim and also her statements recorded by the police are read in tandem, it would prima facie make out a case under section 377 of IPC.

The judge, therefore, ordered a further probe against the husband and filing of a supplementary chargesheet before the trial court within two months. He also rejected the husband’s petition seeking to quash the criminal proceedings against him.

Advocate Prathima S K appeared for the husband while the wife was represented by Advocate S Guru Prasanna. The State was represented by government prosecutor K P Yashodha.

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