no means no high court

HIMACHAL PRADESH HC : “No Means No, The Word ‘No’ Does Not Need Any Further Explanation”

The High Court of Himachal Pradesh in Suresh Kumar Vs State of H.P. denied bail to man accused of raping a 17- year old minor girl and remarked that “No 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.”

FIR was registered against the 26- year old accused under Section 376 (Punishment for Rape) of the Indian Penal Code (“IPC”) and Section 4 (Punishment for penetrative sexual assault) of  the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (“POCSO Act”).

It is the case that the victim was waiting for the bus at the bus stand. Around noon, accused, who was her friend, reached the said place in his pickup Jeep and offered that he would drop her at her home. The victim boarded the vehicle, but the accused took a detour on the way. The accused took the Jeep to a secluded place, and started inappropriately touching the victim. The girl said NO to him but instead, the accused told her that if she cries, then he will force himself upon her. He then asked her if she would marry him, to which the girl said no. After that, the accused undressed the victim and had sexual intercourse with her.

The accused argued that the victim stated in her statement under S. 164 Criminal Procedure Code (“CrPC”) that she was friend of the accused, and her taking lift in the vehicle further proved that the friendship was cordial, a result of which sexual intercourse took place with “active consent and without any force on her by the accused.”.

The Hon’ble Court while rejecting the Bail petitionmade a strong observationthat ‘NO MEANS NO- The simplest of sentences have become the most difficult for some men to understand’. The victim explicitly said no to the accused, when he started touching her, but he did not stop. It nowhere implies consent, or zeal and desire to explore and feel each other in romantic love. The Court went one step ahead and remarked at the outset that “When the curriculum does not include the proper sex education, the children raised by such societies fail the women time and again.”

– Vaishali Jain, Paralegal – Child Safety at Work

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