Mumbai: A promise to marry cannot be considered an inducement in every rape case, the Bombay high court has ruled while granting pre-arrest bail to a 21-year-old youth after his former girlfriend lodged a case of rape following their break-up. Justice Mridula Bhatkar held that an educated girl who has consented to have pre-marital sex should take responsibility for her decision.
“In the event of consent obtained by fraud, inducement is a necessary ingredient. There should be some material on record to believe prima facie that the girl was induced to such an extent that she was ready to have sexual intercourse. Promise to marry cannot be said to be an inducement in these types of cases,” said Justice Bhatkar.
The judge said that though society was changing, it carries the baggage of morality. “Since generations, there is a moral taboo that it is the responsibility of a woman to be a virgin at the time of marriage. However, today, the young generation is exposed to different interactions with each other and is well informed about sexual activities. Society is trying to be liberated but carries baggage of different notions of morality wherein sex before marriage is a matter of censure. Under such circumstances, a woman who is in love with a boy forgets that to have sex is her option like her counterpart’s but refuses to take responsibility for her decision.”
The court pointed to the rising trend of criminal prosecutions for rape initiated after the end of the relationship and said that the court needs to take an objective view and balance the life and liberty of the accused with the sufferings of the girl.
It cited its earlier orders where it had held that when a woman is an adult and educated, she is supposed to know the consequences of a pre-marital sexual relationship.