Rape on Pretext of Marriage Law is a debate that needs to be discussed and well settled. The law cannot be left at the interpretation of a judge who may project a certain mindset about women in 2021 India.
In a recent order passed by Madhya Pradesh High Court Indore Bench, the Bench of Justice Subodh Abhyankar opined that a boy who is entering into a physical relationship with a lass must realize that his actions have consequences and should be ready to face the same. The bench said,
India are a conservative society, it has not yet reached such level (advance or lower) of civilisation where unmarried girls indulge in carnal activities with boys just for the fun of it, unless the same is backed by some future promise/assurance of marriage.
The accused man argued before the court that he had been implicated in a case for offence punishable under Sections 376, 376(2)(N), 366 of the IPC and under Sections 3, 4, 5-I, 6 of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Act.
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Submission By Accused Man
The man has been accused of rape on the (minor) prosecutrix on the pretext of marriage, however, his counsel argued that the alleged victim was major at the time of the alleged offence and that she was a consenting party.
It was also argued that the parents of the girl were opposed to their marriage as both of them are from different religion as the applicant is a Hindu whereas the prosecutrix is a Muslim, therefore, he had been implicated in this case.
Argument by Prosecutrix
The State , on the other hand, argued that the accused repeatedly committed rape on the prosecutrix on the pretext of marriage since October 2018 and subsequently refused to marry her.
Thereafter, when he disclosed to the victim that he was getting married to someone else, the prosecutrix attempted to die by suicide, however, she survived.
Madhya Pradesh High Court Indore Bench
At the outset, the Court opined that the accused did not deserve to be released on bail as apparently he allured the prosecutrix to enter into a physical relationship on the pretext of marriage despite knowing fully well that both of them are from different religions.
The court further said that it has observed in a majority of the cases of rape that the defence side pleads,
The prosecutrix was a consenting party and that in most of the cases, the accused gets the benefit of doubt also.
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The high court emphasised that India is a conservative society, and noted:
…barring some exceptions…it has not yet reached such level (advance or lower) of civilisation where unmarried girls, regardless of their religion, indulge in carnal activities with boys just for the fun of it, unless the same is backed by some future promise/assurance of marriage and to prove her point, it is not necessary every time for a victim to try to commit suicide as in the present case.
The court also added,
It is the girl who is always at the receiving end because it is she who runs the risk of being pregnant and also her ignominy in the society, if her relationship is disclosed. You just cannot plead consent on the part of the prosecutrix and laugh all the way to your home.
Lastly, noting that the prosecutrix had tried to end her life, the court said that the same suggested that she was serious about the relationship. The Court observed that it can’t be said that she entered into the relationship only for enjoyment.
Bail plea of the accused was rejected.
MDO Take –
- With due respect, statements by our judiciary which holds adult women as someone incapable of making their own decisions about physical relationships, are simply regressive
- This order completely shifts the onus of a consensual physical relationship on the male partner, who would have no clue that he may land up behind bars, if the relationship does not culminate into marriage
- The bench repeatedly stresses on the fact that the woman attempted suicide. Can this be reason enough to pressure the man to marry her?
- Let us reverse the genders, where women today want to date several men before marriage, before they find that one right man
- Many over the years, have dumped men after 5-10 years of dating, often leaving men to end their lives. Can men also take recourse to law in such scenarios? Surely, then the feminist brigade will be out with No Means No
- Break ups may not always happen with consent, however, should our system empower women to implicate men/boyfriends under heinous charges of rape, if they want to back out of marriage? What is the difference between dating and marriage then? Are we implying that men cannot get out of a relationship even before marriage?
- Adultery has been decriminalised, live-ins are accepted by top courts, OTT platforms are fully of brainwashing young men and women into exploring their sexual desires before and after marriage….but if things don’t go the women way, Men be damned as rapists
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How Twitter Reacted
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