The Delhi High Court recently stated that if a woman chooses to be in a man’s company, it does not imply that she has given him consent to have sex with her.

The High Court came to this conclusion after considering the case of the alleged sexual assault of a Czech woman in Delhi in 2019. The accused is a man who claimed himself to be a “spiritual guru,” promising to assist the woman carry out her deceased husband’s post-demise rituals, but instead took advantage of her and raped her.

Incident In Detail

A woman of Czech nationality filed rape charges against a “spiritual guru” who was supposed to help her carry out the post-death ceremony of her late husband in 2019.

She claimed that at first he sexually assaulted her in a hostel in Delhi and later became physically involved with her in January 2020 at Prayagraj and Gaya.

However, the accused denied all charges pressed against him, claiming that the victim had willingly accompanied him to multiple locations, such as Benaras, Prayagraj, and Gaya, and had given consent to any kind of sexual intimacy that occurred between them.

The court said, “It is true that the travel to the aforementioned places happened over a period of almost four months, and it is nowhere specifically alleged that the petitioner held the prosecutrix ‘hostage’ or that she was made to travel with him by use of physical force or restraint, in the opinion of this court, that alone would not be determinative of the state of the prosecutrix’s mind, for the court to be able to say at this stage that the alleged sexual liaisons were consensual.”

It added, “In the present case, merely because the prosecutrix agreed to accompany the petitioner to various holy places – for purposes of conducting last rites and rituals – does not ipso-facto imply that she consented to sexual relations with him.” 

Appeal For Bail Rejected

The court turned down the offender’s appeal for bail on account of his sly and cunning nature, as he pretended to be a pious man but took advantage of a vulnerable foreign woman and sexually exploited her.

However, after the court rejected his bail, it granted him the liberty to seek a similar redress before a trial court once all witnesses for the prosecution have been questioned.

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The Court’s Verdict On Consent

The High Court pointed out that the concept of “consent” can be complicated, but it is very evident when a female is giving consent to have sexual liaison with her or in a certain situation.

Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani stated, “Though it is universally accepted that consent given under force, coercion or duress is no consent in law since it is not free or volitional, in many cases it is necessary to examine consent in a more granular manner, with the awareness that substantivity of consent may also be vitiated by several other circumstances that erode the freedom of choice.

Several circumstances, including emotional exploitation, may vitiate the substantivity of consent.” 

The court also claimed, “A distinction also needs to be articulated between a prosecutrix ‘consenting to a situation’ vs. ‘consenting to sexual liaison’. Merely because a prosecutrix consents to being in the company of a man, regardless of for how long, can never be the basis to infer that she had also consented to sexual liaison with the man.”

Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section below.

Disclaimer: This article is fact-checked

Image Credits: Google Images

Feature image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: MintRepublic World & NDTV

Find the blogger: @ekparna_p

This post is tagged under: Delhi, High Court, HC, women, consent, sex, sexual intercourse, sexual assault, rape, sexual liaison, physical relation, consensual sex, non-consensual sex, male presence, male company, no means no, spiritual guru, rape charges, allegations, law, court, Czech, women empowerment, Benaras, Prayagraj, Gaya, viral, justice 

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