In a observation which is bound to open a can of worms, the Bombay High Court has said that an educated woman, who is above the age of 18 and gives consent for sex cannot allege rape later on.
The court said that if the educated woman does not exercise her right to say ‘no’ to a sexual relationship, then she cannot later allege rape when the relationship turns sour.
The observation came in during a plea hearing where a 25-year-old man was seeking pre-arrest bail for charges that also included rape. In his pleas he said that it was a year-long relationship with the 24-year-old complainant, and that their sexual encounters had been “consensual”.
The girl had alleged that the two were in a physically intimate relationship and that the man had promised to marry her.
She then went on to add that after a year though, he didn’t keep his promise and the two broke up.
She then approached the Mumbai police and logged an FIR with charges such as rape, cheating and assault.
According to the FIR the woman had gotten pregnant during this one year period, and the man forced her to undergo an abortion. She had also accused him of using her for financial gains. The anticipatory bail plea in the end was granted by presiding Justice Mridula Bhatkar, who said:
“This cannot be considered as rape. You are a major, educated, and you have a choice of saying no. But if you did not say no at the time, then it will be considered as mutual consent. When the woman is educated and mature, she can say no. When she says yes, then it becomes mutual.”
She, however, did direct the man not to contact or harass the woman or her family members in any manner.
Do you agree with Bombay High Court's observation?