Justice C.S. Karnan of the Madras High Court has said that the remedy he had given in his ruling on the status of unmarried couples involved in a sexual relationship was “not only for the purpose of giving relief to the victim woman, but also to maintain the cultural integrity of India.”

In a statement released in Chennai on Wednesday, following a furore in the media and the mixed reactions to his verdict, the judge said, “If a bachelor aged 21 years or above and a spinster aged 18 years or above had pre-marital sex with intention to marry and, subsequent to this, the man deserts the woman, the victim woman can approach a civil forum for remedy after producing necessary substantial evidence to grant her social status as wife.”

Justice Karnan said the law provided for criminal proceedings against a man for cheating and deserting a woman after making a promise of marriage, but there was no provision for her to approach a civil forum for remedy. Therefore, being the apex court for the State and a constitutional authority, the High Court had granted this relief.

Without fully understanding the Court's judgment, adverse comments shall not be passed, he said.

He added that the order did not, in any way, run against the cultural interest and religious systems followed by various communities. “This order has been passed after a detailed analysis in order to protect Indian culture and welfare of women,” he said.

The Court’s order was not against any religion and was not intended to wound any Indian. “[It] had not in any way degraded the system of marriage performed as per the various religious and customs and rites among the various communities.”

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