Woman Doesn't Forsake Reproductive Rights in Sexual Relationship, Says Court in Forced Abortion, Rape Case

A Delhi court has refused bail to a man accused of raping a woman and forcing her to abort multiple times, saying that a woman does not forsake her reproductive rights when she enters into a sexual relationship with a partner. Additional Sessions Judge Vishal Gogne said that a woman exercising sexual autonomy through a willful sexual relationship cannot be presumed to have also given consent for violation of reproductive rights.

Refusing the relief to accused Shubham Singh, the judge noted that the act of contravening reproductive autonomy through multiple pregnancies and abortions takes away the element of consent which may have been given for the sexual act itself.

“The exercise of sexual choices by a woman does not vest any corresponding right in the partner to sexually exploit her. The woman does not forsake her other rights, including reproductive rights either when she enters into a sexual relationship with a partner,” ASJ Gogne stated in an order dated September 30.

The judge also rejected the contentions of the accused that the complainant leveled false allegations of rape after their “consensual relationship” turned sour. He said the woman did not submit her consent for the sexual relationship for suffering multiple abortions and a permanent detriment to her future reproductive rights.

“The nature of the relationship between the parties thus exhibits lack of consent for the immediate outcomes of the sexual relationship,” the bail order stated. The accused and complainant met on a social media website, following which the man reportedly took her to an acquaintance’s house and raped her on several occasions. He allegedly threatened to reveal their relationship and photographs and used to beat her up upon being confronted for marriage. The man and the woman were in a live-in relationship.

The complainant’s counsel informed the court that the accused caused the woman to undergo abortions three times. She is now pregnant for the fourth time and is more than eight months into the pregnancy, the lawyer submitted.

During the hearing, the prosecutor opposed the bail application submitting that the statement of the complainant had specified forcible sexual assault by the accused apart from alleging that he also caused her to abort the pregnancy on multiple occasions. The accused, on the other hand, emphasized that they engaged in willful sexual intercourse and that the woman could not press allegations under section 376 IPC (rape) only because the relationship could not materialise into marriage.

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