SC stirs the hornet’s nest on rape by intimate partner

The court also said that making false promise of marriage is wrong

Supreme court

The Supreme Court has granted 8 weeks protection from arrest to a man accused of rape by his former lie-in relationship partner, after he married another woman. While the court observed that making false promise of marriage was wrong, the court made some rather bizarre oral remarks during the hearing on the issue of marital rape.

NDTV reported the court questioned, “… however brutal the husband is… when two people (are) living as husband and wife… can sexual intercourse between them be called rape?”

The court was hearing a petition filed by one Vinay Pratap Singh accused of rape by a woman with whom he was once in a live-in relationship which lasted 2 years. The FIR filed in 2019 alleged rape because Singh had told her he would marry her but, earlier that year, had wed another person

“Making false promise (of) marriage is wrong. No one should give false promise – either man or woman. Even women should not give promise…,” said CJI SA Bobde reportedly adding, “If a man and woman are living together, however insincerely… as man and wife… The man may be brutal and may do many wrongs (but) can you call it rape?” 

In his petition, Singh has sought quashing of the FIR claiming that the couple had had sexual intercourse with consent during their relationship, and that it was not a marriage. On the other hand, the complainant’s counsel submitted that Singh had promised to marry her and that a marriage ceremony was also held at a temple in Manali. The woman argued that the consent for sexual intercourse was obtained “by fraud” since she believed the temple wedding to be a “real marriage,” reported India Today.

It was also submitted that Singh had brutally abused the woman, and that she had to go to the hospital due to injuries to her private parts. It is claimed that she also fractured her leg on one occasion; medical records were provided to support the allegations.

The petitioner’s counsel argued that the woman had been in a relationship with other men as well, and that the rape charge had been added to harass him to which the court retorted “You cannot say this… she is a victim”.

The court directed the petitioner to apply for regular bail. The court was going to grant bail till the trial court settled the case, but this was objected to by the woman’s lawyer, reported NDTV.

The Indian Penal Code does not account for marital rape as a crime and the Supreme Court as well has made its stance clear on ‘marital rape’ as an offence. It has, in 2019, dismissed a petition seeking law against marital rape and has also, in the same year, dismissed marital rape as a ground for divorce!


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