Hearing the case of a woman whose crises of help was deliberately spurned by the wife of a man raping her, the Supreme Court (SC) surprisingly concluded that the wife and any woman cannot be accused or charged for rape or gang rape. Indian law allows the inclusion of a woman who acts as an accessory to a rape incident as one of those who perpetuated a gang rape. However, the SC concluded that for a gang rape to happen, there must be a “Common intention” which presupposes a pre-arranged plan or a prior understanding to commit the heinous act. However, the SC did say the prosecution did not cover the question of “abetment” or accessory to rape.
The conclusion that a woman cannot be said to have an intention to commit rape is questionable in the case of a statutory rape where a woman seduces a minor boy into sex. As has been found in a recent case in the US, a teacher seduced a boy into sex and was held for statutory rape and imprisoned on that charge. While such incidents are rare, especially in India where moral behavior are infused (sometimes excessively) by parents and society, the possibility of such developments cannot be overruled and it does not make sense closing out options for an already weak prosecution infrastructure and investigative process.