Failure of live-in relationship or young adults acting immaturely by getting into commitments that end up in break-ups are among major reasons for increase in rape cases, the Delhi High Court has observed.
The court also cautioned parents of young couples to behave with "more sensitivity" while dealing with such issues.
A bench of justices Kailash Gambhir and Sunita Gupta made the observation while upholding the life term awarded to four members of a Delhi-based girl's family, including her father, for killing her lover as they did not approve of their relationship.
Anguished over the killing of the 24-year-old youth, the bench said young adults, especially girls, need to be more responsible and act maturely when taking important decisions like getting married or entering into a live-in relationship.
"The need of the hour is that boys and more importantly girls have to be very careful and cautious before taking such an important decision concerning their lives before entering into the most sanctimonious relationship of marriage or even to have live-in relationship.
"One of the major reasons contributing to increase in the rape cases is failure of live-in relationship or any immature decision on the part of such young adults which more often end up in a broken relationship but sometimes after indulging into physical relationship," it said.
However, this placed an implied onus on the shoulders of the persons involved in such relationships to act responsibly and maturely, it said.
Parents are "expected to behave with more sensitivity and maturity as such issues need to be resolved with patience, understanding and tolerance and instead of indifference or with a bent of mind of alienating the two", the court said.
"It is often noticed that any impetuous act to smother such relationships often has a backlash in the form of resentful feelings or even rebellious actions.
"Therefore, it is with great sensitivity that the parents need to acknowledge the growing independence of their children and rationally and dispassionately deal with these emotive issues giving due respect to their feelings," the bench added.
24-year-old Kuldeep was stabbed to death on the evening of October 14, 2006, by his lover's father, Ravi Kumar and her three uncles Karamvir, Raj Kumar and Sanjay at Uttam Nagar in west Delhi.
According to the prosecution, the four had acted with the common intention of eliminating Kuldeep as they believed he had damaged their reputation because of his affair with Ravi's daughter.
The court also agreed with this view that the four acted with the common intention of killing Kuldeep, as Karamvir and Raj had immobolised the victim by holding his arms and legs and Sanjay stopped anyone from coming to the aid of the youth while Ravi stabbed him seven times with a knife.
The trial court on June 6, 2011, had awarded life term to all the four after holding them guilty of murder.
While upholding the trial court decision, the high court also said, "Kuldeep perhaps would not have met such a tragic end and these accused persons perhaps would not have suffered severity of punishment of life imprisonment had they acted in a sensible and mature manner with due patience, tolerance and understanding to resolve the things instead of taking the law in their own hands."