Lawyer Preeti Maderna: Crossing the line in bed is not enough for legal action
Preeti Maderna, lawyer with the Delhi, Punjab and Haryana high courts, says it's important to distinguish allegations flooding the #MeToo campaign and if the allegations will hold in a court of law
- Sexual misconduct/assault/being violent in bed in a consensual relationship: "If the relationship was consensual, and he crosses the line in bed (biting/intercourse without lubrication), or if you realise later he was sexually violent, but you didn't say no then, then the person can't be prosecuted against. If you have evidence of a sexual practice that was forced upon you, then you can seek recourse. For example, if a partner made you do certain practices by blackmailing you, or threatening you, and you have evidence of that, then you can file a complaint.
- Mental and emotional anguish/assault in a consensual relationship: "If you are married or living in, then you can complain under the domestic violence act."
- If you got pregnant, and your partner left you: "If it was consensual, you can't file a complaint against him."
- If a woman has sex with a man, because they promised to marry them: "These are the most common cases in court. But the court has a strict rule: If you are an adult, and can use your mental faculties, then you need to stand by the decision you took, and can justify your act. So hence that is not a case of complaint."
- Flirting in the office, sexual or verbal: "You can obviously complain to the HR. But you can also file a complaint under the Sexual Harassment Act or Section 354 IPC, which is well equipped to handle all kinds of inappropriate behaviour."
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