Indian judge says pre-marital sex 'against religion'

Couples in Mumbai Pre-marital relationships are still frowned upon by society in India

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A judge in the Indian capital, Delhi, has said that pre-marital sex is "immoral" and against the "tenets of every religion".

Judge Virender Bhat made the remarks after ruling that sex between two adults on the promise of marriage did not amount to rape.

Pre-marital sex remains a cultural taboo in India.

Last year, a court in Delhi said live-in relationships were immoral and an "infamous product of Western culture".

Judge Bhat presides over a fast-track court set up in the Indian capital to dispose of cases relating to sexual offences against women.

He made his latest remarks while clearing a man employed with a multinational company of charges of rape.

The 29-year-old had been arrested after a woman working in a different company lodged a complaint of rape against him in 2011.

The woman alleged that the man had sex with her after promising marriage.

"In my opinion, 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," Judge Bhat was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.

"When a grown up, educated and office-going woman subjects herself to sexual intercourse with a friend or colleague on the latter's promise that he would marry her, she does so at her own peril. She must be taken to understand the consequences of her act and must know that there is no guarantee that the boy would fulfil his promise.

"He may or may not do so. She must understand that she is engaging in an act which not only is immoral but also against the tenets of every religion. No religion in the world allows pre-marital sex," the judge added.

In 2010, the Supreme Court dismissed a number of cases against a Tamil actress who spoke in support of the right of women to have pre-marital sex. The court also endorsed the right of unmarried couples to live together.

Actress Kushboo was accused of "outraging public decency" and 22 cases were filed against her in 2005.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    The morality of an act is a question of the individual beneficence and malificence concerns of those involved in that act.
    This is a problem of doctrine, not morality.
    Religious 'advise' should not be taken as any reflection of morality.
    Yet another attempt by this country's archaically minded governors to inflict a primitive society on what should be a progressive and upcoming state.

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    Why so many messages on this subject. It is true that "pre-marital sex is "immoral" and against the "tenets of every religion" - but it is fun! Like everything in life, we each need to balance fun with restraints. And there is nothing more immoral than the immoral West lecturing those of other nations - the BBC is doing this by the mere fact that it reports such news!

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    India is conflicted.
    Doesn't its Supreme Court not support live-in couples. Do the lower Courts assume that these arrangements are non-sexual, that there is not a pre-marital arrangement, or perhaps no arrangement at all?

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    One hopes that this judge can be zoomed into orbit in India's next rocket launching...

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    The land of caste, child brides, honour killings, and wives burned in 'accidental' propane explosions once again lays bare its hypocrisy, misogyny and inhumanity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    Obviously no sex before marriage can't work here because everyone keeps talking about it, TV and music videos nowadays probably have more sex contents than porn did 20 years ago.
    But imagine a country where sex related issues are not mentioned, true, people might not have an aggressive sex life, but they might equally have a more stable relationship/family, kids will have both parents around, etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    I see no problem @ 51
    "Why must I? Would you like to explain your assertion, to give some reasons why responsible parents must agree with you?"

    As a responsible parent I would say: STDs, unplanned pregnancies, emotional distress. They are good enough reasons for starters...

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    I frankly don't care what a judge says who happily presides over poverty and exploitation from his ivory tower.

  • Comment number 72.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    Sex between consenting adults is not immoral unless you think sex is immoral. And obviously some people think it is.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    "Whilst I don't agree with him, you can't blame religion for a legal stance on rape."

    Erm, when his comment is that pre-marrital sex is immoral and against the tennents of every religion, you can indeed blame religion for the legal stance. Most of the most draconian laws around the world are justified by religion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    I would have said its mandatory

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    "48. mike ivybridge He said premarital sex is contrary to the tenets of all religions, and he is right."

    No, he's not. There's nothing in the christian rule book, that collection of grim tales known as the bible, which forbids premarital sex.

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    Maybe one definition of a free country is whether judges have the right to decide on what's "immoral" or not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    Man in India says something backwards and controversial. Must be a slow news day.

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    Who cares what a judge in India says. This is the UK, so why is the BBC bothering with a HYS on an internal Indian matter.

    Sex between consenting adults is of no concern to anyone.

    We have enough of our own problems that should be discussed here.
    BBC stop wasting resources worrying about other countries.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    Deeply religious countries (of which there are many) believe sex before marriage equally as immoral as we find that concept.

    I find the act of ‘liberating’ countries in the name of democracy immoral, but we keep doing it.

    Glass houses....

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    Shouldn't believers be more tolerant and more concerned with 'love' than pitifully grasping yet again for their own imaginary moral high ground to beat the rest of us with?

    All religion is a sectarian moral compass. If Jesus came back would these people question him on his unmarried sexual relationships?

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    Why are so many comments on religion? This is a judge that has stated this under the laws of their country.

    Whilst I don't agree with him, you can't blame religion for a legal stance on rape.

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    It would be better if comments were opened on news items with more significance but the general point that what consenting adults do with each other in private is none of anybody else's business needs to be maintained in a civilised society.


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