NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday said that if a man has consensual s*x with a woman with the intention to marry her, then it cannot be termed as rape, even though the marriage does not take place.
The top court's said this while hearing a case in which an accused was charged with rape after he failed to marry the girl with whom he had consensual s*x on the promise of marrying her.
"Coerced or misguided, obtained willingly or through deceit. Consent is an act of reason, accompanied by deliberation, the mind weighing, as in a balance, the good and evil on each side. There is a clear distinction between rape and consensual s*x and in a case like this, the court must very carefully examine whether the accused had actually wanted to marry the victim, or had mala fide motives, and had made a false promise to this effect only to satisfy his lust, as the latter falls within the ambit of cheating or deception. There is a distinction between the mere breach of a promise, and not fulfilling a false promise," said the Supreme Court.
Differentiating consensual s*x and rape, the Supreme Court said, "Rape is the most morally and physically reprehensible crime in a society, as it is an assault on the body, mind and privacy of the victim. While a murderer destroys the physical frame of the victim, a rapist degrades and defiles the soul of a helpless female.
"Rape reduces a woman to an animal, as it shakes the very core of her life. By no means can a rape victim be called an accomplice. Rape leaves a permanent scar on the life of the victim, and therefore a rape victim is placed on a higher pedestal than an injured witness. Rape is a crime against the entire society and violates the human rights of the victim.
"Being the most hated crime, rape tantamounts to a serious blow to the supreme honour of a woman, and offends both her esteem and dignity. It causes psychological and physical harm to the victim, leaving upon her indelible marks."
A lower court in Haryana had convicted the accused to undergo seven years imprisonment, which was upheld by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The Supreme Court acquitted the person who had served three years out of the seven year sentence and ordered his release.
The Supreme Court said the girl was at that time 19 years old and had adequate intelligence and maturity to understand the significance and morality associated with the act she was consenting to. "She was conscious of the fact that her marriage may not take place owing to various considerations, including the caste factor. Hence it could not be said that she had not given her consent for having s*x with the accused," the court said.