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Live-in relationship a by-product of Article 21; promoting promiscuity
Abhishek Vs State of MP
Madhya Pradesh HC
MISC. CRIMINAL CASE No. 15851 of 2022
About/from the judgment:
The High Court observed that live-in relationships were leading to rising incidents of sexual offences by promoting promiscuity and lascivious behaviour.
The Court remarked that the bane of live-in-relationships was a by-product of the Constitutional guarantee provided under Article 21 of the Constitution.
“Taking note of the spurt of such offences in recent times arising out of live-in-relationship, this court is forced to observe that the bane of live-in-relationship is a by-product of Constitutional guarantee as provided under Article 21 of the Constitution, engulfing the ethos of Indian society, and promoting promiscuity and lascivious behavior, giving further rise to sexual offences,” the Court said.
This observation came while hearing an anticipatory bail application by a rape accused. As per the First Information Report (FIR) the prosecutrix and the applicant were friends who met for the purpose of studying. However, on one instance he spiked her drink and committed rape on her.
After this, he threatened her with circulation of her private photos and videos if she told anyone of the incident. Thereafter, the continued to rape her.
The prosecutrix, in fact, became pregnant twice and both times the pregnancy was terminated under the pressure of the applicant, she alleged.
When the prosecutrix was engaged for marriage to another as arranged by her father, the applicant began harassing her parents, family and fiancé threatening them with the release of her pictures.
The accused, however, claimed that the family was bent on harassing him by lodging this false report. He submitted that the two had resided together for 4-5 years and the abortions were done with the survivor's consent.
Therefore, he stated that his custodial interrogation was not necessary.
The Court’s attention was also drawn to a previous first information report (FIR) lodged by the prosecutrix for the offences of criminal intimidation and doing obscene acts. With regard to this FIR, the applicant stated that had it been a rape case, there was no reason for the prosecutrix to not mention the same in the earlier FIR.
On considering the submissions by both parties, the Court began by clarifying that this was not a case of rape on the pretext of marriage, but one where the prosecutrix was raped after the applicant spiked her cold drink and took advantage of her.
The Court also noted that the case diary and the various documents filed by the accused revealed that the prosecutrix and the accused were in a live-in-relationship for quite some time and during this time, the prosecutrix also got pregnant for more than a couple of times and got it terminated, allegedly under the pressure of the present applicant.
Subsequently, things got sore between them and to the disappointment of the applicant, the prosecutrix got engaged to some other person, the Court noted.
The applicant being a jilted lover, could not stand that the prosecutrix got engaged to someone else and resorted to blackmailing her and even sent video clips to her in-laws threatening to commit suicide. A serious view was taken of this conduct.
“In the considered opinion of this court, such act of the applicant needs to be viewed seriously as how much stress his acts must have caused to the prosecutrix, her family members as also other persons is not difficult to comprehend”, court remarked.
Discussing the “bane” of live-in relationships, the Court said that those who wished to exploit the freedom were quick to embrace it, but were ignorant of its limitations. He said that it does not confer any right on any of the partners to a relationship.
“The applicant appears to have fallen into this trap,” said the Court explaining that he assumed that once there was a relationship with the prosecutrix he could force himself upon her for all times to come.
It was the Court’s opinion that the previous FIR of the prosecutrix demonstrated that she tried her best to avoid the applicant but he persisted with his demands.
Therefore, the application for anticipatory bail was denied reasoning that custodial interrogation of the applicant would be necessary.
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