It was recently stated by a Delhi Court that a woman who is exercising sexual autonomy by having a wilful sexual partner cannot be presumed to have given consent for infringement of her reproductive rights.
This observation was made by the Additional Sessions Judge Vishal Gogne, in a case where the man who was accused of raping a woman on various occasions and had forced her for abortion on three occasions had appealed in the court for bail. The woman who had accused him of these charges was pregnant for the fourth time and had stated that he used to beat her up.
OBSERVATIONS OF THE COURT
It was observed by the Court that in a consensual relationship when the sexual relations have been consistent for a long duration, “ the act of contravening reproductive autonomy through multiple pregnancies and abortions takes away the element of consent which may have been given for the sexual act itself”.
However, the Court held that it cannot be presumed that a woman has given up her reproductive rights on the basis of the fact that she is exercising her sexual autonomy through a wilful sexual partner. Furthermore, the Court held that the consent for the sexual act is vitiated if the accused continues to have sexual relations with the end or an allegation of forcing an abortion is charged against them.
VICTIM’S POINT OF VIEW
The Court noted that it has tried to comprehend the allegations from the perspective of the petitioner who must be traumatized, highlighting the fact that she is not only imposing a charge of rape against the accused but is also battling odds to sake her identity as a single mother.
REJECTION OF THE PLEA
The Court on these grounds rejected the plea of the accused that a woman exercising her sexual rights does not give away the freedom to anyone to sexually exploit her or infringe any other rights such as the reproductive rights for a person to exploit.
The Court further held that the plea of the accused that the complainant has filed the petition as the consensual relationship turned sour cannot be accepted, however, there may be a misconception of fact regarding the marriage between the complainant and the accused, but the fact that her consent for a sexual relationship cannot be interpreted as her consent for suffering multiple abortions which is detrimental to her future reproductive rights.