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SC: Consensual sex in live-in relationship not rape, making false marriage promises wrong

Supreme Court was hearing a case related to two call centre employees who had been in a live-in relationship for five years. The man however married another woman.

SC Consensual sex in live-in relationship not rape, making false marriage promises wrong-dnm
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New Delhi, First Published Mar 2, 2021, 1:15 PM IST
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that any consensual sex that happens between a couple cannot be called rape if the man fails to keep his promise of marrying the woman later.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna and Ramasubramanian said that making a false promise to marry is wrong. Even a woman should not promise to marry and then break away. But that does not mean in a prolonged live-in relationship, sexual intercourse would be categorised as rape.

The Supreme Court was hearing a case related to two call centre employees who had been in a live-in relationship for five years. The man however married another woman. This led the live-in partner to slap rape charges against the man, accusing him of indulging in sexual intercourse on the false promise of marriage. 

Appearing for the man, senior advocate Vibha Datta Makhija said if consensual sex in a live-in could result in rape charges, which leads to arrest of the man, it would set a dangerous precedent.

The complaint’s counsel Aditya Vashishth said the man had displayed to the world that they were living as husband and wife and had married the woman in a temple but had wriggled out of the promise after assaulting her and extorting money.

"It is a good case for you to seek discharge from the trial court," the bench said. "There's a clear distinction between rape and consensual sex," the bench added. The court protected the man from arrest for eight weeks and asked him to find out from the trial court whether the prosecution was able to produce evidence to substantiate rape charges.

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