Submission during Sexual Assault Can't be Called 'Consent': SC
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NEW DELHI: A Bench of Supreme Court judges led by Deepak Misra ruled that submission of a rape victim during a sexual assault cannot be construed as ‘consent’. It did so while passing a judgment in the case of rape of a 16 year old girl by her own uncle and another relative.
The bench also noted that the sexual assault on any person is an infringement of the person’s human rights, and defined ‘consent’ as a, “voluntary participation not only after the exercise of intelligence based on the knowledge of the significance and moral quality of the act but after having fully exercised the choice between resistance and assent,” while citing precedents.
The Court opined that there’s no sure formula to figure out whether the consent was a genuine one or not and it has to be found out through careful observation and analysis of the evidences at hand while keeping in mind the past judgments in the same regard and tests used by the judiciary then.
It further dismissed the plea of the two alleged assaulters on the ground that whether or not consent was involved is immaterial since the victim was a minor and her consent won’t mean anything, hence the offence is rape.
“It needs no special emphasis to state that once it is held that the prosecutrix [victim] is below 16 years of age, consent is absolutely irrelevant and totally meaningless,” Justice Misra wrote in the judgment.
The perpetrators demanded a reduced sentence which the Apex Court denied, finally observing in its judgment that “…. Regard being had to the gravity of the offence, reduction of sentence indicating any imaginary special reason would be an anathema to the very concept of rule of law. The perpetrators of the crime must realize that when they indulge in such an offence, they really create a concavity in the dignity and bodily integrity of an individual.”