In a first of its kind judgment, the Madras high court passed a verdict that defines sexual relations between a man and woman of marriageable age as a ‘valid wedding’. The judgment, passed by Justice CS Karnan, with an aim to provide legal relief to the ‘affected woman’, reads: If a bachelor aged 21 years or above and a spinster aged 18 years or above have premarital sex with the intention to marry and subsequent to this the man deserts the woman, the victim woman can approach a civil forum for remedy after producing necessary substantial eviden to grant her social status as wife.
As the judgment invites disapproval from various quarters, HT City gets in touch with some students and celebrities for their take on the issue.
Expressing ‘empathy’ towards men, Rubina Dhillon, a second year BA student from MCMDAV, says, “Given the setup of the Indian society, this judgment leans towards the ‘benefit’ of women. The girl might just frame the boy because of his financial standing. What I fail to understand, however, is how do we prove the ‘intention to get married’ part?”
Prabhloch Singh, founder, Middle Finger Protests (a human rights protection group from Chandigarh), says, “We boast about the legacy of Kamasutra on one hand, and on the other, premarital sex was considered a ‘taboo’ until 2010. This ruling is vulnerable to exploitation; it seems to lend support to those who indulge in moral policing. The court seems to have done the right thing by coming to the rescue of a mother of two, but has probably taken it too far by generalising the ruling.”
Manu Madaan, former state vice-president, NSUI, and member of Chandigarh Youth Congress, says, “Even though at first the ruling may seem beneficial for women in need, but I believe it’s very regressive; it impinges on personal liberty and consent.”
Analysing the ruling, professor Rajesh Gill, chairperson, Department of Sociology, Panjab University, says, “The ruling is outrightly ridiculous. Youngsters these days indulge in sex during early teens; they get into and come out of so many relationships; marriage is not what youngsters have in mind when they gets into a relationship. Also, being married involves a lot more than sex. If this is the way we go, we’re eventually going to end up losing the sanctity of marriage.”
Bollywood actor Ayushmann Khurrana
“The Madras high court ruling is totally archaic; it holds no relevance in the present-day setup. If that’s how the court wants to play it, why don’t they decrease the legal age for marriage? Most of the late teenagers in this day and age are sexually active anyway. It’s high time they come out of their platonic bubble.”
Punjabi actor Gavie Chahal
“This new ruling is hilarious; it’s full of potholes. Youngsters get into reckless relationships that change with time and situations. Once the law gets involved in such matters, things get all the more complicated. Moreover, at the age of 18 or 21, youngsters don’t really think about marriage; they aren’t even mature enough to decide what is right or wrong for them.”
Punjabi actor Kulraj Randhawa
“I find such relationship concepts being equated with the sacred institution of marriage really funny. This ruling will lead to a lot of confusion; it might make youngsters think that their relationship is legally sanctioned. Not all relationships can be given the rights of marriage, which demands much more than just physical proximity.”