Apex Court Says Women Have Right To Choose Love

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New Delhi: A woman has a right to choose her love or reject any proposition and no one can compel her, said the Supreme Court on Friday.

It also said her right to live with dignity granted under the Constitution cannot be violated by obnoxious instances of eve teasing at public places.

“She has an individual choice which has been legally recognised. It has to be socially respected. No one can compel a woman to love. She has the absolute right to reject,” the bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said. The court said that there is no room for male chauvinism in a civilised society.

The court upheld the conviction and seven-year jail term awarded to a man for driving a woman to commit suicide after continuous eve-teasing. The case “portrays the deplorable depravity of the appellant that has led to a heartbreaking situation for a young girl who has been compelled to put an end to her life,” the court said.

The bench dismissed the appeal of Pawan Kumar, a resident of Himachal Pradesh, against the high court’s order that overturned his acquittal in the suicide case of a girl.

The case had its background. Before her death, the convict faced a separate prosecution of rape and kidnapping of the victim.

But the girl supported him during the trial, leading to his acquittal. Having faced the prosecution in rape case, the convict started harassing the girl. Unable to bear the continuous harassment, she had on July 19, 2008, set herself ablaze. Five days later, she succumbed to her burns. However, by that time, she had recorded her dying declaration, explaining the role of the convict.

Rejecting the plea of the appellant, the court said, “A man should not put his ego or, for that matter, masculinity on a pedestal and abandon the concept of civility. Egoism must succumb to law.”

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