By Lohita Turlapati:
“Girls are morally and socially bound not to indulge in sexual intercourse before a proper marriage”, reads a 19- page order passed by a judge of the fast track court. This news is making headlines almost everywhere and we can hear the furor of those people who are crying foul over this judgment. The Indian Penal Code(IPC) defines rape in its Section 375 as sexual intercourse with a woman against her will, without her consent, by coercion, misrepresentation or fraud or at a time when she has been intoxicated or duped, or is of unsound mental health and in any case if she is under 16 years of age. Clearly, our Penal code states that pre-marital consensual sex is not illegal. Whereas, morality is subjective. So should we really respond to this order?
Although, it is important to note here that this order was passed while acquitting a man that had allegedly promised to marry the girl and had taken her to Jammu for a week where he had raped her. Based on circumstantial evidence, the judge acquitted the man. The judge also states that stories of kidnap and rape are often fabricated by girls and that “It is these false cases which tend toÂ trivializeÂ the offence of rape and undermine its gravity”. Cases such as these can, therefore, be tricky to judge the genuineness of as even a girl’s intentions can at times be unscrupulous. That being said, where a rape has in fact taken place, the consequences are unavoidable for the women whereas, a man can easily get away and the women suffers physically, emotionally as well as socially.
This only calls for more transparent and clear implementation of written laws as proof in such cases are generally limited to narration and psychological behaviour. What this does not call for is insensitive orders that raise questions on the morality and social obligations of today’s women, prior to judgement. We can only be called an equal society, if these same questions are raised on the accused man’s behaviour at the same time. We live in a society today where both the male and female gender are gaining equal importance and are free to represent their opinions and these opinions and decisions must be respected, especially if the decision is to not have sex.
When some might say that our society is conservative, others say this same society penned the words of the kama sutra that states that kama is a goal of human life. However, what people ignore is that it also states that kama cannot be isolated from dharma or righteousness.
There needs to be a loud shout out to the men and women today to hold their righteousness when it comes to satisfying their carnal pleasures and also to our justice system to ensure that all orders and laws that are passed are sensitive to both genders of the human race. The world has been ridden by the problem of sexual harassment since times immemorial and where today we are blessed with a legal system to ensure justice, we must not misuse this and a the same time law must grant us what it exists for.