An Odisha High Court judge has remarked that promising marriage and having sex is not the same as rape. Justice S.K. Panigrahi also questioned whether rape laws should be used to regulate intimate relationships, especially in cases where women have sex of their own free will.
Justice Panigrahi on Thursday quashed the lower court’s order and granted bail to the rape accused. The remarks were linked to the arrest of a 19-year-old tribal woman from Namlala, Odisha’s Koraput district, in November last year on charges of rape. According to the case records, a man and a woman from the same village had been having sexual relations for about four years. During this time she was twice pregnant.
The woman later lodged a police complaint that the youth had taken advantage of her innocence. Had a physical relationship with him. Promised her marriage. The woman claimed that the accused forced her to conceive after taking abortion pills.
Police have registered a case and arrested a man who has been in jail for the past six months. On Thursday, the high court granted conditional bail to the co-accused. Will not intimidate the alleged victim. Justice Panigrahi, in his 12-page order, discussed the laws of rape in detail and said that ‘consensual relations without any reassurance cannot be considered an offense under Section 376 (rape) of the IPC.
Emphasizing the need to resolve the issue, Judge Panigrahi said that questions often arise as to how such cases can be resolved by law and judicial decisions. However, he also said that rape laws always fail to improve the plight of socially deprived and poor victims, where they are physically trapped by false promises of marriage made by men.