The Supreme Court has accepted a plea on July 2nd, 2018 to examine whether civil liability can be imposed on a man, who walked out of a promise to marry a woman after long cohabitation (live-in) and a consensual sexual relationship, by treating such a relation as "de-facto" marriage.
The court observed that in a situation like this many-a-time the relationship is ended by the man and it is hard to establish an offence of rape.
“This interpretation may have to be considered so that a girl is not subjected to any exploitation and is not rendered remediless even if a criminal offence is not made out” the court stated in its order.
The matter has come before a division bench comprising of Justices AK Goel and S Abdul Nazeer when it was seized of a petition of a man challenging the order of a trial court and the high court refusing to quash a case of rape against a woman in Karnataka.
The Apex Court noted that the man had promised to marry the woman with whom he had lived for six years but later backed out. “Thus, she was induced for the intercourse during the cohabitation on that consideration and not by free consent. The petitioner committed offence under Section 376 of Indian Penal Code, 1860. The trial court having taken cognizance, the petitioner approached the High Court for quashing it. The High Court rejected the prayer for quashing."
Further, the court has issued a notice to Attorney General KK Venugopal and requested him to depute an Additional Solicitor General to assist the court. It also requested senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi to assist the court as amicus, or friend of the court.
The matter has been posted for further consideration on September 12th, 2018.