The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to Attorney General of India KK Venugopal, seeking his assistance in determining if a man in a live-in relationship with a woman should pay her compensation if he refuses to marry her, the Hindustan Times reported.

The court was hearing a case filed by a man urging it to quash a rape case levelled by a woman he refused to marry after living with her for six years. The woman said she had sexual relations with the man as he had allegedly promised to marry her. She claimed that this was not by free consent and thus amounted to rape.

Justices AK Goel and S Abdul Nazeer said women in such situations should not be left without a remedy even if the men are not guilty of committing a criminal offence, NDTV reported. The judges asked if the petitioner could be held responsible for civil liability by treating the relationship as a de facto marriage even if the relationship was held to be consensual. “This interpretation may have to be considered so that a girl is not subjected to any exploitation and is not rendered remediless even if a criminal offence is not made out,” News18 quoted the court as saying.

The court requested senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi to assist it as amicus curiae and posted the matter for hearing on September 12.