NEW DELHI: In an observation that has reignited the debate on marital rape, the Supreme Court on Monday questioned whether sexual intercourse between man and wife can be termed as rape. The court was hearing the petition of a person who was accused of rape by a woman with whom he had been in a live-in relationship for over two years. She filed an FIR for rape after he married another woman.
“If a couple is living together as man and wife, the husband may be a brutal man, but can you call the act of sexual intercourse between a lawfully wedded man and wife as rape?” a bench headed by CJI S A Bobde asked.
According to the complainant, the couple had been in a romantic relationship but she had refused to enter into a sexual relationship before marriage. She claimed the couple went to Manali in February 2014 and secretly got married at a temple there.
The man denied any marriage took place and contended that the live-in relationship was a consensual one while the woman maintained that the consent for sexual intercourse was obtained by fraud.“No one should falsely promise marriage and break off. But that is different from saying that the act of sexual intercourse is rape,” observed the SC bench.
The woman also alleged that the accused had “brutally exploited” her. “Then you file a case for assault and marital cruelty. Why file a rape case?” asked the CJI. The court gave the man protection from arrest for