The Madras high court ruling on pre-marital sex has started a new debate in the society.
The judgement tries to emphasise that though in the 21st century, sex is not a taboo, a man cannot escape after robbing a woman of her honour by false promises.
Noted lawyer IB Singh said, “This is a good judgement for women, who are sexually exploited and later ditched. But one cannot be declared husband and wife after having sex once and staying with each other. In the Madras case, the man had signed in the ‘live birth report’ of his second child and given his consent for a Caesarean section. Hence, the judge said he was treating the couple as spouses in normal life.
“It is not disputed that the girl was single before she gave birth and that the boy was a bachelor before developing a sexual relationship. Both of them lived like husband and wife. Therefore, the children born to them are legitimate and if children are legitimate then how can they not be husband and wife,” said Singh.
On the other hand, some youngsters were not happy with the decision. Nagesh Kumar, 25, said, “What’s wrong with sex? If sex before marriage is considered as marriage, then what will sex with a prostitute be considered? Will it be considered as arranged marriage?”
However, state secretary, All India Democratic Women Alliance (AIDWA) Madhu Garg called the judgment historic and pro-women. “This is the issue of domestic partnership and awarding rights to a girl who entered into a living relationship on the confidence of getting married later.”
“In 2010, a Delhi court held that sex outside marriage was equal to rape,” said advocate Prashant Kumar, adding, “this was because the man had seduced the woman by promising marriage. But in 2013, the Supreme Court overturned a similar conviction by raising the bar of proof, so it differs from case to case.”