Hearing a public interest litigation which had sought for keeping the cases of live-in relationship out of the purview of Section 376 of the IPC amongst other things, the Delhi High Court has observed, “As far as the relief sought, of keeping the live-in-relationships outside the purview of Section 376 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.” The Court also added, “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.”
The judgment delivered by the Division Bench consisting of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw also answered the challenge to the “exclusion of sexual intercourse or sexual interaction with wife being not under 15 years of age, from the definition of rape.” The Court observed, “We are of the view that such aspects are better left to the domain of the Legislature and the decision thereon is not for the Courts.”
The PIL had also sought for compensation for persons acquitted from the criminal charge of rape and also registration of cases against persons on whose complaint such acquitted person were prosecuted. The petitioner had also sought for directions in relation to rape cases. However, the Court did not find any merit in the petition and observed, “The test of proof, in prosecutions, is a tall one and merely because the said test has not been satisfied, resulting in acquittal, cannot be allowed to automatically lead to setting in motion a process of harassment to the complainant / prosecutrix or the Police officials who had investigated the matter.”
The Court had observed, “In our opinion, the petition is misconceived and in ignorance of the laws / procedures already available and in force. No general directions as sought can be issued.”
You may read more of our coverage regarding live-in relationships here.
Read the Judgment here.