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Woman has a right to love and live, man must not ignore civility: SC

While sentencing a man to seven year in jail for driving a woman to suicide, the Supreme Court observed that woman has the right to reject someone’s love, and should not be compelled against her choice.

india Updated: Apr 28, 2017 20:40 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Suicide,Supreme Court,Rape
The convicted was initially acquitted by a trial court in July 2010 after which the state had approached the high court. He was accused of driving a woman to suicide by harassing her. (Sonu Mehta/HT File Photo)

A woman has a right to live and love, the Supreme Court said on Friday as it sentenced a man to jail for seven years for harassing a woman and driving who committed suicide.

A bench headed by justice Dipak Misra observed that a woman had her own space as a man in a society. Yet, women were not allowed to live in peace and a lead a life empowered with dignity and freedom.

“It has to be kept in mind that she has a right to life and entitled to love according to her choice,” the court said, wondering why women could not assert her individual choice, which has been legally recognised.

“It has to be socially respected. No one can compel a woman to love. She has the absolute right to reject,” it said, rejecting the man’s appeal against a Himachal Pradesh high court verdict that convicted him for driving the victim to suicide by continuously pestering her.

According to police, the victim was in love with the accused. But, on the complaint of the girl’s father, a rape case was registered against him. Although the man was acquitted based on the girl testimony, he apparently blamed her for his troubles and began harassing her. Fed up, the victim set herself on fire.

The court noted that such harassment has become a pernicious, horrid and disgusting practice and this violated a woman’s right to freedom and life, SC said.

“We are at pains to state that in a civilized society eve-teasing is causing harassment to women in educational institutions, public places, parks, railways stations and other public places which only go to show that requisite sense of respect for women has not been socially cultivated,” it added.

The court also said that in a civilized society male chauvinism had no room. A man should not put his ego on a pedestal and abandon the concept of civility.

“Egoism must succumb to law. Equality has to be regarded as the summum bonum (ultimate goal) of the constitutional principle in this context. The instant case portrays the deplorable depravity of the appellant that has led to a heart breaking situation for a young girl who has been compelled to put an end to her life”, said the court.

It confirmed the HC’s direction ordering the man to pay fine of Rs 10,000 and said in default he would further undergo rigorous imprisonment for a year.

First Published: Apr 28, 2017 20:38 IST