Prayagraj, Aug 10: The Allahabad High Court has observed that if a married woman "with prior experience in sexual relations" does not express objection, it cannot be deemed that her intimate involvement with a man was non-consensual.
Justice Sanjay Kumar Singh made this observation while hearing the criminal proceedings against an individual accused of raping a 40-year-old married woman.
Ironically, the accused was her live-in partner.
The court noted that the alleged rape victim, without obtaining a divorce from her husband and leaving behind her two children, chose to enter a live-in relationship with the petitioner, Rakesh Yadav, with the intention of marrying him.
The court addressed the plea submitted by three defendants, seeking the dismissal of the charge sheet filed against them before the court of an Additional Civil Judge (junior division) in the new Court number III/Judicial Magistrate, Jaunpur.
Recalling the victim's marriage in 2001 to her husband, from whom she bore two children, it was highlighted that due to the "acrimonious" nature of their relationship, the applicant Rakesh Yadav (the first applicant) purportedly took advantage of the situation.
He persuaded her under the promise of marriage, leading her to cohabit with him for a period of five months, during which they engaged in physical relations.
It was alleged that the co-accused Rajesh Yadav (the second applicant) and Lal Bahadur (the third applicant), brother and father of the first applicant, respectively, assured her that they would facilitate her marriage to Rakesh Yadav.
Under her insistence on marriage, they even obtained her signature on a plain stamp paper, falsely claiming that a notarised marriage had taken place. In actuality, no such marriage had been solemnised.
On the opposing side, the counsel representing the applicants argued that the alleged victim, a married woman of around 40 years and a mother of two children, possessed the maturity to comprehend the nature and morality of the consensual act in question.
Consequently, they contended that this case did not constitute rape but rather a consensual relationship between the first applicant and the victim.
In its order last week, the court, while recognising the need for further deliberation, suspended the ongoing criminal case against the applicants. It granted the opposing parties the liberty to submit a counter affidavit (response) within a span of six weeks. The case will next be heard after nine weeks.