Delhi HC refuses to keep Live-In Relationships outside the Purview of Rape

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The Delhi High Court has rejected a plea asking to keep live-in relationship between a male and a female outside the purview of rape under Indian Penal code (IPC). The HC argued that doing so would amount to granting such relationships the status of matrimony, which, it added, was something the legislature had chosen “not to do”.

The High Court delivered this judgment while hearing a PIL seeking direction to the central government to exclude live-in relationships from the purview of rape under the IPC. The PIL was filed by Anil Dutt Sharma who claimed that statistical evidence suggest most of the rape cases filed by women against their live-in partners tend to be “false”.

“In more than 70 per cent cases, the accused is found not guilty and other associated family members of the acquitted accused face humiliation in society,” the plea had said.

The petitioner also demanded that police should stop arresting a man on the face value of the allegations made by the complainant and instead should look for actionable evidence before taking action against the accused.

“As far as the relief sought, of keeping the live-in relationships outside the purview of Section 376 (rape) of the IPC is concerned, the same would amount to giving the live-in relationships, the status of matrimony and which the legislature has chosen not to do,” a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said.

“All that we can observe is, that a live-in-relationship constitutes a distinct class from marriage. It is also not as if the defence of consent would not be available in such cases to the accused. We do not find any merit in the petition and dismiss the same,” the judge added.

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