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 200.

    190 Riya

    Well said.. The good news is that while we in Western Europe and the USA sink into our pit of moral depravity, the countries and continents we keep criticising are on the up - Africa, China. India, Russia etc. Yiu and I are on the right side of history

  • rate this

    Comment number 199.

    I understand what you're saying but perhaps these all have a common root. A "me me" culture of instant gratification that refuses (or has trouble to, given it is the opposite behaviour that is praised and highlighted in our media) to invest in anything long term.

  • rate this

    Comment number 198.

    And this is said in a court of law?

    Why are we giving aid to fund this UK-bashing regime, a product of immoral Western culture? Pah!

    Your nation would be significantly less developed if not for the British Empire, "Judge" Bhat, bite the hand that feeds eh!?

  • rate this

    Comment number 197.

    Strange that premarital sex is an offence but once you do get married you can disfiguring your wife with acid or commit marital rape with little or no comment from the judiciary. I don't know of any religion that condones that either.

  • rate this

    Comment number 196.

    It's up to the Indians to decide how they run their country, but while we don't have that silly law here, unfortunately there are still too many aspects of the UK state linked to religion.

    Coronations in churches, head of state being head of the CofE and compulsory RE in schools all need to be dumped since we are not living in the dark ages.

  • rate this

    Comment number 195.

    189.I disagreed with the last line. It's true that divorce rates are high but I don't believe this is due to pre-marital sex. Rates are high cos of the relative ease & lack of stigma of divorce & cos many people rush into marriage, think marriage will save their failing relationship (stupid) or expect marriage to always be easy when it isn't. Not because you could have sex before you got married.

  • rate this

    Comment number 194.

    Posters are saying 'get with 21st Century' & 'living in the past' when discussing minority rights, marriage & sexual freedom.

    So what's for the future?

    We've already got families where every sibling has a different father or mother.

    We've even got 'husband' & 'wife' of the same sex.

    So someone with influence needs to call for a slow down before unspeakable practices creep into 'normalty'

  • rate this

    Comment number 193.

    Its called difference of culture.
    Majority of Indians think that 'pre-marital sex' or 'sex outside marriage' is immoral.There is nothing scientifically wrong with it,just the difference of culture.
    Lets appreciate each other's culture without ridiculing or trying to enforce our opinion onto others.

  • rate this

    Comment number 192.

    I wonder why the BBC has not reported this:

    44,000 guns were exported by the UK to East Africa in the past 15 months.

    Government data shows that among the weapons were 30,000 assault rifles, 2,536 pistols and 11,000 rifles which ended up in countries with poor human rights records like Somalia.


    Sorry to disturb your discussion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 191.

    They are both right.

    What you say has to confirm with the view of the London based chattering classes

  • rate this

    Comment number 190.

    Why can't we mind our business and stop judging other civilisation based on nothing. Why do we have to interferer in every damn thing which is happening is other countries. In the name of liberty and modernity all we are doing is just creating sexual revolution and forcing others to accept dat just bcoz we think "that is correct" and only way to live life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 189.

    That's a bit like saying that there are starving poor people because they can't afford to buy food.

    It's true but it doesn't explain anything.

  • rate this

    Comment number 188.

    He's right.

  • rate this

    Comment number 187.

    Re 181.gurufabbes
    "I have no idea why my comment was so negatively rated"

    I can help here, it's because most of the people doing the rating disagree with what you said.

    It's a democracy sort of thing (subject of course to the moderators deciding your post is within the rules - which is at times a bit of a mystery)

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    And in Aghanistan, an 8-year-old girl is found wearing a suicide vest. What should be illegal is the murderous, intolerant tenets of every established religion. Humanity would be hundreds more years advanced without these controlling cults and their SS officers in disguise.

  • Comment number 185.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    178 Bathukolpian
    That is such an oversimplification. What about : Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami -- which is most commonly translated as being "Do not indulge in sexual misconduct" or "Do not misuse sex."

    There is enough distortion about Christian teaching on this site. Please dont add to it by stating errors in Buddhism too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    The problem with using religion as your guide is that it is so widely open to interpretation on many matters of living life that what is acceptable and decent to some can be totally different in meaning to others. Religion is not definitive, just as laws and justice are not and change with the evolution of society and those who make the laws.

  • Comment number 182.

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

  • Comment number 181.

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


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