India: Rape Should Be Gender-Neutral Offence: Kerala HC on Breach of Promise to Marry

Article here. Excerpt:

'The Kerala high court orally remarked that the offence of rape that arises out of a false promise to marry should be “gender-neutral”, noting that a woman cannot be prosecuted if she tricks a man with such a promise.

According to LiveLaw, Justice A. Muhamed Mustaque made the observation while adjudicating the child custody battle of a divorced couple.

During the hearing, the woman’s advocate said that the man had once been accused in a rape case. The man’s counsel said the allegation was based on “unsubstantiated accusations of sex under a false promise of marriage”, according to LiveLaw.

This is when Justice Mustaque expressed his concern that Section 376 (punishment for rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) is not gender-neutral. He said,

“Section 376 is not a gender-neutral provision. If a woman tricks a man under false promise of marriage, she can’t be prosecuted. But a man can be prosecuted for the same offence. What kind of law is this? It should be gender-neutral.”'

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