Kerala HC dismisses rape charges, says sex was consensual
An Ernakulam native was accused of rape by an Engineering graduate alleging that the boy deceived her into having sex 3-4 times under the pretext of marrying her. On Tuesday, the Kerala HC acquitted the accused, stating that sexual intercourse was consented for by the woman. The court also stated that it is unbelievable that an educated woman could be deceived more than once/twice.
Pre-marital sex and rape
Section 375 of Indian Penal Code provides that if a woman consented to sex under a false promise of marriage, rape charges can be filed against the man. However, legal experts believe there are grey areas in Section 375 that allow complainants to take advantage when a consensual relationship turns sour. In recent years, filing rape cases under "false promise of marriage" have soared.
25% rape cases under promise to marry
According to Delhi Police, among all rape cases filed in 2016, a massive 25 per cent fell under category of "sex under false promise of marriage" as the cause.
Bombay HC: Promise to marry not always inducement to rape
The Bombay High Court has ruled that educated girls who consent to pre-marital sex must take responsibility for their decisions. The court further added that a promise to marry cannot be considered as an inducement in every rape case. Judge Mridula Bhatkar made these pertinent observations while granting bail to a 21-year old youth who had been accused of rape by a former girlfriend.
Changing society and evolving norms
The court observed that despite an evolving society, the baggage of morality continues to exist. She added that earlier a woman was expected to be a virgin at time of marriage however the young generation had plenty interactions with the opposite sex. Society was trying to be liberated but there were still varied notions of morality where pre-marital sex is "matter of censure".
Bombay High Court's observations
The court made far-reaching observations in this case. Judge Bhatkar stressed that merely 'promise to marry cannot be an inducement' to rape. She added that if consent had been obtained by fraud, then element of inducement was "a necessary ingredient". Therefore, it needed to be evident that the girl was 'induced' to such an extent that she consented to having sex.
Court: Sex is her choice and responsibility
Judge Mridula Bhatkar in context of changing societal norms, said: "Under such circumstances, a woman who is in love with a boy forgets that to have sex is her option like her counterpart's but refuses to take responsibility for her decision."