Jilting a lover is not an offence, rules HC
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.