The Supreme Court, commenting on marital rape, has said that when a man and a woman live as husband and wife, that act of sexual intercourse between them could not be called rape.

The court made the remark while hearing case of quashing of an FIR on rape because of false promise of marriage.

Live Law quoted Chief Justice of India SA Bobde as saying, “When two people are living as husband and wife, however brutal the husband is, can the act of sexual intercourse between them be called rape?”

The court stayed the arrest of the man who had been accused of rape by his former partner on the pretext of marriage.

The comments raised eyebrows on social media, with many questioning the remark.

The Supreme Court, hearing the petition filed by Vinay Pratap Singh, the accused, said that making false promises of marriage was wrong.

NDTV quoted Bobde as saying, “Making false promise (of) marriage is wrong. No one should give false promise – either man or woman. Even women should not give promise.”

In the FIR filed in 2019, Singh’s former parter alleged that he had told her he would marry her, but had married another person that year. She had been in a relationship with him for two years.

The court’s comments on marital rape come at a time when activists in India have been working to get marital rape recognised as a crime.

This remark by the Supreme Court follows yet another that took social media by storm. The court on Monday asked a government employee, who is accused of raping a girl, if he would “marry her”, stoking a storm on social media.

CJI Bobde asked “Will you marry her? If you want to marry we can help you. If not, you lose your job and go to jail. You seduced the girl, raped her.”

A bench led by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde was hearing the bail plea of a technician with the Maharashtra State Electric Production Company, Mohit Subhash Chavan, who has been accused of raping a minor under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) act.

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