In a controversial statement, Kiran Mayee Nayak, Chairperson of Chhattisgarh State Women’s Commission on Friday claimed that women in live-in relationships often file rape complaints after splitting with their partners, reported NDTV.

In a video clipping of a public hearing event of the commission, Nayak can be heard saying: “In most of the cases, girls have a consensual relationship, stay in a live-in setup and then file an FIR [First Information Report] for rape [after separation].”

“I would request everyone to consider their relationship, their status...when you pursue such relationships, the outcome is always bad,” she added.

She also warned young women against relationships, which she referred to as “filmy romance”, according to NDTV.

“My appeal is that if you are a minor, then do not fall into the trap of filmy romance,” Nayak said. “Your family, friends and your entire life can get destroyed. These days, there is a new trend that people prefer to get married off at the age of 18. After a few years, when the couple has kids, they both find it difficult to survive.”

She said that the commission tries to settle as many domestic disputes as possible. “For this we often scold women and men, and try to convince them... in a way it’s counselling,” Nayak said, according to NDTV.

Nayak’s statement was criticised as such a comment from a women’s body official could further undermine cases of rape and other forms of crimes against women, which often go unreported in India.

Earlier this year, the annual National Crime Record Bureau’s “Crime in India” 2019 report showed that crimes against women rose by 7.3% since 2018, with the country recording an average 87 rape cases every day in 2019.