Judge’s Remark Premarital Sex is “Immoral” Raises Questions

A Delhi court decree saying that pre-marital sex is “immoral” and against the “tenets of every religion” has led to a heated debate on the social media with netizens questioning the invoking of religion in matters judicial.

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Holding that every act of sexual intercourse between two adults on the promise of marriage does not become rape, additional sessions judge Virender Bhat ruled that a woman must understand that “she is engaging in an act, which not only is immoral but also against the tenets of every religion.”

“No religion in the world allows pre-marital sex,” the judge said while acquitting an employee with a multinational company of the charges of rape.

He also ruled that a woman, especially grown up, educated and office-going, who has sexual intercourse on the assurance of marriage does so “at her own peril”.

“The woman should understand the consequences of her act and must know that there is no guarantee that the boy would fulfil his promise,” he said. “He may or may not do so.”

Invoking religion in the judgement seems to have gone wrong with netizens, as can be gauged from Rana Chatterjee’s Facebook post: “Where does religion come into this?? Its mutually consenting adults at that point in time…there are no guarantees on anything not even on life!:).”

Paroma Roy Chwdhury feels on the similar lines, as she writes: “Do I detect an emphasis on educated and office going? And where does religion come into this? Dinosaurs are positively post modern, compared to him!”

Police had arrested a Punjab resident last month when a woman lodged a complaint of rape against him in May 2011.

The woman had alleged that the man, whom she had met through a chat website in July 2006, used to have physical relations with her on several occasions by promising to marry her. In her complaint, she alleged that she had become pregnant too.

However, the accused, during the trial had opposed the woman’s claim and said that he never indulged in sexual intercourse with her.

Taking note of the submission of the man, the judge said the woman was “intelligent enough” to understand the moral quality and consequences of her act, so there were no chances of her being “misled by any assurance given to” her by him.

Another Facebook user said that the judgement was not surprising, as according to him “Virendra Bhat has a history of judgments like this”.

“He let rapists go because they were in love with the women he raped. He gave a thief two months’ community service in the hanuman temple because he was unmarried and had aging parents to look after etc.,” he wrote on Facebook.

While agreeing with the part of the judgement that a mature woman must know what she was doing, Prakash Kamat raised questions on the latter part. “The second part of the sentence is pure khap (Panchayat) and is in keeping with mindset of most of our judges now. The phraseology is even more regressive,” Kamat wrote on Facebook.

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