The Kerala High Court judges spoke against the violation of consent during a petition hearing by 26-year-old Syam Sivan. They said that merely being in love doesn’t mean that a partner has the right to have sex with the other. One should not presume that the victim had given consent for sexual intercourse on the pretext of a love relationship.
Syam Sivan was convicted under multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code, including section 376 that deals with rape. In 2013, Syam took a girl, whom he was in a relationship with, to Mysore and had sex with her without her consent. The court order also stated that he had taken the girl to Goa after selling her ornaments and raped her again. He blackmailed her saying that he would force himself to commit suicide in front of her house if she didn’t go with him.
Justice R Narayana Pisharadi shared that helplessness in the face of compulsion cannot be considered as one’s consent. He further stated that there’s a staunch difference between consent and submission and every consent involves a submission but the converse does not follow. Based on Syam’s threat, the court agreed that the victim’s helplessness in such a situation must have prevented her from resisting. The court stated, “It can only be found that it was a passive submission made by the victim girl under unavoidable circumstances as she had no other option.”
Since the victim’s age wasn’t proved, the Kerala high court set aside the conviction under the POCSO act. But Justice Pisharadi maintained that the act committed by Syam is punishable under IPC Section 366 and 376.