India judge calls pre-marital sex immoral, against religion
AFP Tuesday, January 7, 2014, 12:14 am TWN
NEW DELHI--An Indian judge has declared premarital sex "immoral" and against "every religion" and added that no educated woman should have sex believing that her partner will marry her.
Sessions court judge Virender Bhat made the comments while finding a 29-year-old Indian man not guilty of raping a woman just because he had promised beforehand to marry her.
"When a grown up, educated and office-going woman subjects herself to sexual intercourse" she does so "at her own peril," Bhat was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.
Bhat made the statements late last month in a New Delhi court but they were only reported by local media on Monday.
Premarital sex remains taboo in many parts of India even as the country undergoes rapid social change after economic reforms in the 1990s opened up the country to the rest of the world.
The comments come after a Delhi judge last year termed live-in relationships immoral and an "infamous product of Western culture."
Bhat was ruling in the case of a woman who filed a complaint of rape against the man, an Indian employee of a multinational company in May 2011.
The woman alleged that the man, whom she met through a chat website in July 2006, had sex with her on several occasions by promising to marry her.
"Every act of sexual intercourse between two adults on the assurance of promise of marriage does not become rape if the assurance or promise is not fulfilled later on by the boy," the judge said.
The woman must (also) "understand she is engaging in an act which not only is immoral but also against the tenets of every religion," the judge added.
"No religion in the world allows premarital sex," the judge added.
Dhat was presiding over a fast-track court set up in Delhi to deal with cases of sexual crimes against women.
The fast-track court was one of the reforms introduced after the fatal gang-rape of a student in December 2012 that shocked the nation and also prompted lawmakers to toughen laws against rapists.
Two years ago, the Supreme Court dismissed a string of cases filed against south Indian actress Khushboo Khan-Sundar who was accused of violating public decency by voicing support for women to have pre-marital sex.
The Supreme Court has also backed the rights of unwed couples to live together.
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