“Girls are morally and socially bound not to indulge in sexual intercourse before a proper marriage, and if they do so, it would be to their peril and they cannot be heard crying later that it was rape,” reads a 19-page order passed by Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhatt.
Bhatt is the presiding judge at a fast track court in Dwarka, which was established to expedite cases of sexual offences against women.
The judge made the observation while acquitting a man charged with raping the sister-in-law of his brother. He looked into the conduct of the woman and the inconsistencies in her statement to arrive at the conclusion that physical relations between her and the man were based on her “free and well-informed consent”.
The prosecutrix had alleged that the man had promised to marry her and had taken her to Jammu for a week where he had raped her. The judge, however, maintained that the parents of the girl had not filed any complaint when she went missing. After she came back, they even proposed to marry their daughter with him. Based on circumstantial evidence, the judge acquitted the man.
The judge also commented on the “disturbing trend” of rape cases.
“The girls in such cases are mostly in the age group of 19 – 24, thus mature enough to understand the consequences of their acts and not so numb to get carried away with any representations of the boy. They voluntarily elope with their lovers… and on return to their homes, they conveniently fabricate the story of kidnap and rape in order to escape harsh treatment from parents. It is these false cases which tend to trivialise the offence of rape and undermine its gravity,” he said.
Judge Bhatt said, “A girl of this age group, even if belonging to a rural area, cannot be believed to not know how marriage is performed or what the essential ceremonies of a marriage are. I am unable to countenance the argument that a mature girl would consider herself a wife of the person who has merely applied vermilion on her forehead and no other rite or ceremony has been performed.”