The Supreme Court upheld a woman’s right to love according to her choice and said that it needs to be respected, PTI reported on Saturday. The apex court said there was no room for male chauvinism and “obnoxious acts” that obstruct her rights. The court was hearing a petition filed by a man sentenced to seven years in prison for driving a girl to commit suicide.

“It has to be socially respected. No one can compel a woman to love. She has the absolute right to reject,” Hindustan Times quoted the bench as saying.

The English daily reported that while the girl was previously in love with the accused, her father had later filed a rape case against him. He was acquitted based on her testimony, but had soon started accusing her of ruining his life and harassing her. A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said the accused had played a crucial role in driving the girl to ending her life.

The court ruled that the Constitution grants a woman as much equality as a man under Article 14. “A man should not put his ego or, for that matter, masculinity on a pedestal and abandon the concept of civility. Egoism must succumb to law. Equality has to be regarded as the summum bonum [highest principle] of the constitutional principle in this context,” the bench observed.