Sexual relations and marriage: High Court clarifies order, objects to criticism

The Madras High Court took strong objection to criticism of its verdict holding sexual relations between a woman and man of marriageable age, prior to tying the knot, as “a valid wedding” and stoutly defended the order saying it “protected Indian culture and welfare of women.”

Two days after he delivered the judgement, which has evoked disapproval and criticisms from various quarters, including on social media, Justice C S Karnan said comments should not be made without fully understanding the verdict.

In a clarificatory order, which would be part of the judgement, the judge said “this court’s order does not in any way run against any religion and is not intended to wound any Indian. The order had not in any way degraded the system of marriage performed as per the various religious and customs and rites among the various communities.”

Justice Karnan further said “..this court has given the legal relief to the affected woman. Without fully understanding the court’s judgment, adverse comments shall not be passed.”

“If a bachelor aged 21 years or above and a spinster aged 18 years or above had premarital sex with the intention to marry and subsequent to this the man deserts the woman, the victim woman can approach a civil forum for remedy after producing necessary substantial evidence to grant her social status as wife. This remedy is not only for the purpose of giving relief to the victim woman but also to maintain the cultural integrity of India,” he reiterated.

Justice Karnan had given the judgement on June 18 while modifying an April 2006 judgement of a family court in a maintenance case.

A family court in Coimbatore had ordered a man to pay Rs 500 maintenance per month to his two children and Rs 1000 as litigation expenses and had held that the woman’s wedding with him did not have any documentary proof.