madras high court and sexual assault: “Failure to object to first sexual assault equals consent”; Controversial Madras High Court observes Madurai court: Victim’s inability to resist assault the first time amounts to prior consent, Madras High Court judge Madras Ben says

Highlight:

  • Sexual harassment case.
  • Not expressing opposition is equivalent to consent.
  • Madurai Bench Observation of the Madras High Court.

Chennai: The Madras High Court on Monday issued a stay order in ongoing sexual assault cases against women and minors. The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court noted that not contesting sexual assault for the first time amounts to prior consent.

Judge Pongiyappan overturned a 10-year sentence handed down by a lower court to a 21-year-old man for sexually assaulting a 19-year-old girl. The court also asked why it was two and a half months late in filing a complaint that the young man had been abused. The court examined a copy of the complaint and the doctor’s report which stated that failure to prevent the young man’s first sexual assault amounted to prior consent, and then reversed the young man’s sentence.

The complainant and the young man were in love for about a year. They are both from the same town. The court also noted that the physical contact continued as he had promised to marry her. According to the complaint, the girl was sexually abused by the young man after promising to marry him and the young man withdrew from the marriage while she was pregnant.

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The young woman did not object when the first sexual assault occurred because the young man promised to marry her. This position amounts to prior consent. The consent given by the girl cannot be considered a factual misunderstanding. The woman had filed the complaint after the young man withdrew from the marriage. Justice said the two had been together before. In 2016, the court of first instance sentenced the young man to 10 years in prison for the woman’s complaint.

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The Chhattisgarh High Court’s observation that the husband was acquitted in a case of rape of his wife was controversial. Rape between a man and a woman legally married by force or against the will of the wife cannot be considered rape. The court ruled that even if the wife was under the age of 18, it would not be rape.

The woman who filed the complaint is legally married to the accused. Therefore, sexual relations against the will of the wife are not considered rape. The court also ruled that the husband’s action could not be considered illegal.

The Kerala High Court had ruled earlier this month that forced sex without the consent of the couple could be considered grounds for divorce. A division bench of Justices Mohammad Mushtaq and Kauser Edappagath had said it was time to violate the country’s marriage laws and replace personal law with a secular law for marriage and divorce.

The court said the unified law is the need of the moment. The court rejected the appeal filed by a prominent doctor, son and real estate dealer in Kozhikode against the court order granting the divorce.

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