The Kerala High Court, on Thursday, orally observed that relationship between a man and a woman turning sour cannot lead to rape charges against the man [Navaneeth N Nath v State of Kerala]..Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas orally observed that the nature of relationships and the expectations partners have of each other have changed a lot over the last few decades and that the offence of rape cannot be attracted merely because a relationship did not work out. "A relationship turning sour at a later point of time will not amount to rape. As you know, in the present social context, we have live-in relationships and open marriages. All these things are happening... In a practical sense, age of marriage has also changed now. Girls of 28 and 29 years are not ready to get married. They are enjoying their independence, financial independence. New generation children are completely different. They don't always want to marry, they don't want to have children, they adopt pets. There is a difficulty now, because allegations of rape surface after relationships turn sour," he said..The judge remarked that with this paradigm shift in adult romantic relationships, if couples break up and marry others, it need not always be the case that one person was coerced into sex on false promise to marry."Now we find young men and women living together, enjoying relationships and as in the foreign countries, it is only after they understand the physical and mental compatibility that they decide to get married. At a later stage if they realise that they are incompatible, they both may leave the relationship and be by themselves. There might be situations where once person may like to continue in the relationship but the other does not. But all of these are not situations which will amount to a case of rape. It may be a breach of promise but breach of promise is not rape," the Court orally observed.In such case, the crucial aspect to be considered is whether consent for sexual intercourse was obtained on the promise of marriage, the single-judge underscored..The observations were made while considering a bail plea moved by one Navneeth N Nath, a Central Government panel counsel in Kerala, who was arrested in connection with a sexual abuse complaint made against him by a colleague.The allegation was that the woman had been in a relationship with Nath for 4 years but he later decided to marry another woman.When she learnt of this and met Nath's fiance at a hotel, she allegedly tried to commit suicide by slitting her veins. While speaking to the police after the incident, the woman recounted her story, leading to the arrest..Senior Advocate Ramesh Chander, appearing for Nath, argued that the petitioner had every intention of marrying her and that the sexual relationship between them, which subsisted for many years, was absolutely consensual and loving.He said that it is only after their hope of getting married was thwarted by the disapproval of his parents that Nath met the woman who is now his fiance.Chander said that the couple were aware from the beginning that their relationship may face roadblocks due to the fact that they belong to different faiths but the complainant, knowingly took her chances and continued in the relationship..However, advocate John S Ralph, appearing for the de-facto complainant, refuted these contentions and submitted that their sexual relationship was predicated on an absolute, but now proven false, promise to marry. He pointed out that any lack of information in the FIS can be attributed to the fact that the complainant was in the ICU when the statement was taken. The Public Prosecutor also opposed grant of bail and stated that whatever consent was obtained was based on a misconception of facts and that the offence of rape will be attracted in this case. .Since the case arose between a couple who had been in a relationship for over 4 years, the Court said that the complainant's case may be affected by the Supreme Court decision in Pramod Suryabhan Pawar v The State Of Maharashtra. "What the Supreme Court held in Pramod's case is that the long period of a relationship is indicative of an absence obtaining consent by promising to marry. In your FIS (first information statement), no where is it indicated that you indulged in sex only with the belief that he is going to marry," the judge remarked..The Court will pronounce its verdict tomorrow.