Jilting a lover is not an of­fence, rules HC

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City -

New Delhi: Jilting a lover de­spite sex­ual re­la­tion­ship, how­ever ab­hor­rent it may seem, is not an of­fence, Delhi high court has ob­served.

The court’s judg­ment came while uphold­ing the ac­quit­tal of a man in a 2016 rape case lodged by a woman whom he had promised to marry. It dis­missed an ap­peal in the case by the po­lice say­ing there was no in­fir­mity in the de­ci­sion of the trial court to ac­quit the man.

“Jilting a lover, how­ever ab­hor­rent it may seem to some, is not an of­fence pun­ish­able un­der In­dian Pe­nal Code,” the court said, adding that “two con­sent­ing adults es­tab­lish­ing a phys­i­cal re­la­tion­ship is not a crime”.

It said the woman ap­peared to have used the al­le­ga­tion of in­duce­ment of phys­i­cal re­la­tion­ship on the prom­ise of mar­riage, to not only jus­tify her phys­i­cal re­la­tion­ship with the ac­cused in the past, but also her con­duct af­ter the FIR was filed. She had also re­fused an in­ter­nal med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion. “In so far as con­sent to en­gage in a sex­ual act is con­cerned; the cam­paign ‘no means no’, that was ini­ti­ated in the 1990s, em­bod­ies a uni­ver­sally ac­cepted rule: a ver­bal ‘no’ is a def­i­nite in­di­ca­tion of not giv­ing con­sent to en­gage in a sex­ual act. There is now wide ac­cep­tance to move ahead from the rule of ‘ no means no’ to ‘yes means yes’. Thus, un­less there is an af­fir­ma­tive, con­scious and vol­un­tary con­sent to en­gage in sex; the same would con­sti­tute an of­fence,” Jus­tice Vibhu Bakhru said.

The high court said the woman’s claim that her con­sent was not vol­un­tary but ob­tained by in­duc­ing her on the pre­text of a prom­ise to marry, is not es­tab­lished in this case.

Jus­tice Bakhru noted that three months af­ter the first al­leged in­ci­dent of rape, the woman had vol­un­tar­ily checked into a ho­tel with the man in 2016 and there was no merit in the con­tention that this act was in­duced by a prom­ise of mar­riage.

Delhi high court said in cer­tain cases, a prom­ise to marry may in­duce a party to agree to es­tab­lish sex­ual re­la­tions, even though such party does not de­sire to con­sent to the same.

“How­ever, it is dif­fi­cult to ac­cept that con­tin­u­ing with an in­ti­mate re­la­tion­ship over a pe­riod of time, is in­duced and in­vol­un­tary, merely on the as­ser­tion that the other party has ex­pressed its in­ten­tion to get mar­ried,” the judge ob­served.

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