Drunk woman’s con­sent for sex is not valid, says Bom­bay HC Par­rikar says forces have full free­dom after Army chief’s J&K com­ment row Num­bers game wide open in Tamil Nadu

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Aye­sha Arvind aye­sha.arvind@hin­dus­tan­times.com Shishir Gupta shishir.gupta@hin­dus­tan­times.com KV Lak­sh­mana let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The Bom­bay high court held that “a woman, when in­tox­i­cated is in­ca­pable of giv­ing a free and con­scious con­sent to a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship.” The court has held that in such a cir­cum­stance, even if the woman con­sents to a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship, it will not be con­sid­ered valid or as an “ex­cuse for com­mit­ting rape.”

The court said in the case of rape, when a woman says “No” to sex­ual in­ter­course even once, it must sig­nify she is un­will­ing. Sim­i­larly, when she says “yes, this yes must be free and un­am­bigu­ous” for the in­ci­dent to not amount as rape.

“Not every ‘Yes’ is cov­ered as valid con­sent de­fined un­der sec­tion 375 of the In­dian Pe­nal Code (IPC). The term ‘with­out a woman’s con­sent’ has a wider mean­ing and cov­ers a broader area of her wish to have sex­ual in­ter­course,” said jus­tice Mridula Bhatkar, adding that “si­lence, or un­cer­tainty” in it­self, can­not demon­strate con­sent.

De­fence min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar said mil­i­tary com­man­ders had “full free­dom” to de­cide on how to con­duct their op­er­a­tions in J&K. Par­rikar’s re­marks come in the back­drop of a de­bate over army chief Bipin Rawat’s com­ments that those who hin­der counter-in­sur­gency op­er­a­tions or dis­play flags of Pak­istan and IS in Kash­mir will be con­sid­ered “anti-na­tional”, and sol­diers will not hes­i­tate to use weapons.

Two ri­val camps in Tamil Nadu’s rul­ing party braced for an assem­bly trust vote on Satur­day as ex­perts in­di­cated chief min­is­ter E Palaniswami’s wafer-thin ma­jor­ity and sev­eral un­happy leg­is­la­tors could make the floor test go down the wire.

The day be­gan with a jolt for Palaniswami — a loy­al­ist of AIADMK chief VK Sasikala — with for­mer state po­lice chief and MLA R Nataraj switch­ing sides to for­mer chief min­is­ter O Pan­neer­sel­vam’s camp.

“I took this de­ci­sion lis­ten­ing to the views of my vot­ers,” said the My­la­pore leg­is­la­tor, who was not among the 120-odd MLAs lodged in the high-se­cu­rity lux­ury re­sort out­side Chen­nai.

O Pan­neer­sel­vam and E Palaniswami:

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