O means no – the simplest of sentences has become the most difficult for some men to understand,” the Himachal Pradesh High Court said Wednesday while rejecting the bail plea of a man accused of raping his friend.
When a woman says “No” to sexual intercourse it does not mean yes, it does not mean that the girl is shy, it does not mean that the girl is asking a man to convince her, it does not mean that he has to keep pursuing her. “The word ‘No’ doesn’t need any further explanation or justification. It ends there, and the man has to stop,” Justice Anoop Chitkara of the Himachal Pradesh High Court said.
The case before the court involved a rape survivor who alleged that on December 17, 2020, when she was waiting for a bus the accused, who was her friend, offered to drop her at her house in his jeep. Instead of driving her home, the accused took her to a secluded place and started touching her inappropriately. When she resisted, he threatened to force himself on her if she cried. He then asked if she would marry him and when she refused, he forcibly undressed her and raped her. The victim then came home by bus and informed her mother about the incident. Based on these allegations, the police registered an FIR under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
Justice Chitkara pointed out that the victim had said no to the accused when he started touching her, but he continued. There was, therefore, no implied consent, he said, adding that when school curricula do not include proper sex education, children raised by such societies fail women time and again.
The judge before closing the case also expressed his gratitude to his Law Clerk-cum-Research Assistant, Apoorva Maheshwari, for an excellent perspective on the issue.