Status of Marital Rape

Rape is contained in section 375 of the Indian Constitution. By the words of constitution, Rape involves all kind of sexual assault involving nonconsensual intercourse with a woman. The only exception is the act of forcing your spouse into having sex without proper consent. Our law does not recognize marital rape. Marital Rape comes in the ambit of domestic violence. Domestic violence in the recent years has seen a great change. According to National Crime Records Bureau’s report in 2019, 70% of women in India are victim of domestic violence.

Today Marital Rape has been criminalized in more than 100 countries but still India is among those 36 countries where it is yet not considered a crime. The concept of marriage in India is seen as a ‘implied consent’. Marriage implies that man and woman have consented for sexual intercourse and it cannot be otherwise. Even a part of Section 375 of IPC says that “sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age is not rape”. However, the concept of marital rape violates certain articles of our constitution.

Article 14 – Article 14 of the Indian Constitution states that the state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India. This exception in IPC creates two classes of women based on their marital status. In doing so, this exception makes possible the victimization of women who are married from those who are not.
Article 21 – Article 21 of the Indian Constitution states that it is the right of every human being to live a life of dignity with access to at least bare necessities of life. In the landmark judgement of State of Karnataka v. Krishnappa, the honorable SC held that sexual offence being inhumane is also an unlawful intrusion of the right to privacy and sanctity of a female.

Also, the main aim for the introduction of Section 375 of IPC is to protect the women from inhumane activity of rape. However, exempting husbands from this punishment is exactly contradictory to the objective of this act.
The United Nation Committee on elimination of discrimination against women also recommended that the Indian Government should criminalize marital rape. Women can file the case of sexual assault against their husband under Section 498A. Another remedy includes the protection of women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. Under this act, women can file complaints against forced sexual activity without their will, even by their husbands. In recent times, Indian Laws now treats men and women as a separate legal entity. It is high time that the legislature should take note of this legal loophole and bring Marital Rape within the purview of crime.

Aishwarya Says:

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