The Madras High Court ruling — that pre-marital sex between an unmarried man and woman can be considered a marriage unless under some “exceptional considerations” — does not imply that two consenting adults having sex will be automatically declared husband and wife. It only allows a pre-marital relationship to be viewed as an acceptable element for a marriage in specific cases. In my view, such a ruling will make the younger generation more responsible.

The ruling should assume a gender neutral approach and not remain or become gender-specific, lest it is misused like some other provisions of the law.

Niranjan Desai,


The ruling will help reduce the instances of cheating against women. It should be seen in a positive light. The judiciary cannot remain a silent spectator to changes. Its verdicts are acts of social engineering. Societal and religious controls need to be minimised according to the needs of time.

N.S. Sujith Kumar,


Mr. Justice Karnan’s judgment should be considered a landmark decision in the field of equity. A woman who has borne two children cannot be told that she is not entitled to maintenance because there was no formal marriage between her and her partner.

The High Court ruling is an activist judgment. It travels even beyond the rationalistic principle of Periyar, who spoke of some form of marriage. Society, women in particular, should welcome it.

N.G.R. Prasad &

S. Satishkumar,


It is strange that Justice C.S. Karnan has issued a clarificatory statement in support of his own decision (June 20). A judgment should be self-explanatory and speak for itself. It requires no clarification from the judge except as part of judicial process. A judge should not choose an extra-judicial process to defend his stand like politicians.

We may draw attention to the facts highlighted in the article “A case for judicial lockjaw” (The Hindu, February 27, 2012) — on Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly engaging with the media on the merits of his own judgment after his retirement. What applies to a retired judge should apply all the more to a sitting judge.

G. Kannapiran,


Justice Karnan’s claim that his order does not, in any way, run against the cultural interest and religious system of various communities is not true. The ruling does run against the laws of Islam, according to which any sexual act between a man and woman who are not legally married, consensual or otherwise, is “zina” — fornication. It is illegal and liable to punishment. Even if the man and woman subsequently marry, their earlier act remains illegal.

Pallak Lebbe,


Keywords: pre-marital sex

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