Indian SC says ‘consensual sex’ should not be considered as rape

New Age Online | Published: 13:38, Mar 02,2021

 
 

The Indian Supreme Court on Monday said that in case of a live-in relationship, consensual sex between a couple would not be considered as rape if the man failed to keep his promise of marriage to the woman, reports Times of India.

‘Making a false promise of marriage is wrong. But that does not mean that in case of a prolonged live-in relationship, sexual intercourse should be categorised as rape,’ a bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna and Justice V Ramasubramanian said.

The court made the decision after holding hearings in a case related to two call centre employees who were in a live-in relationship for five years.

The man finally married another woman and the woman brought ape charges against him, accusing the man of indulging in sexual intercourse on the false promise of marriage.

Appearing for the man, senior advocate Vibha Datta Makhija said that if consensual sex in a live-in could result in rape charges, it would set a dangerous precedent.

The complaint’s counsel Aditya Vashishth said the man had displayed to the world that they were living as husband and wife and had married the woman in a temple but had wriggled out of the promise after assaulting her and extorting money.

When Makhija said there was a ‘habitual’ aspect to the complainant and alleged that she had done the same to two other men, the bench said using the word ‘habitual’ for rape survivors was impermissible under law.

Makhija said she was aware of the sensitivity of the issue but termed the complainant’s allegations false. The bench protected the man from arrest for eight weeks and asked him to find out from trial proceedings whether the prosecution was able to produce evidence to substantiate rape charges.

‘It is a good case for you to seek discharge from the trial court,’ it said while disposing of the man’s petition.

In 2018, the SC in two judgments had held that if a woman was voluntarily in a live-in relationship, it would be tough to categorise sexual intercourse as rape. It had also said, ‘There’s a clear distinction between rape and consensual sex.’

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