Consensual physical relationship cannot be a rape : Kerala High Court

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Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) – During a hearing in a rape case, the Kerala High Court has ruled that a sexual relationship between two willing adult partners will not amount to rape coming within the purview of section 376 of the Indian Penal Code unless the consent for sex was obtained by a fraudulent act or misrepresentation. The Court has granted bail to the accused in the case. It is alleged that the accused advocate Navaneet Nath (age 29) raped a woman lawyer at various places after promising to marry her and then backing out and choosing to marry another woman.

The Court said, ‘Even if a sexual relationship between two willing partners does not lead up to marriage, still the same will not amount to rape, in the absence of any factor that vitiates the consent for sex. A subsequent refusal to marry or a failure to lead the relationship into a marriage are not factors that are sufficient to constitute rape even if the partners had indulged in a physical relationship’. The Bench, however, explained that the consent for sex obtained by a promise to marry will amount to rape only when the promise was given in bad faith or is vitiated by fraud or was not intended to be adhered to at the time of making it.