Marital rape and it’s need to be criminalized
Till now in 2022 India remains out of the 36 countries a place where it’s not a crime for a husband to rape his wife . it’s an exception feature of the section 375 IPC that defines sexual intercourse without consent as rape and it specifically mentions that sexual intercourse with one’s wife under the age of 15 will not be termed as rape and this age was increased from 15 to 18 by the criminal amendment act of 2013.
Most of the developed countries recognize rape as rape no matter what’s the circumstances, than what’s the problem with the Indian legislators to criminalize marital rape? It’s a serious question that raises doubts about the Indian legal system regarding their vow to safeguard women’s right.
There are several factors holding India a developing superpower to criminalize marital rape : an outdated old Victorian era IPC an unfair rigid patriarch society with a large number of faith’s that suppress women voices other the than this the culture which treats marriage and family as sacred holds as the building block in criminalizing marital rape.
The present status of marital rape in India
The definition under the section 375 of Indian penal code includes all the sexual and non-consensual intercourse with a women and defines them as an offence under rape the reason why marital rape is not being criminalized Falls under the exception 2 of section 375 which exempts non-consent sexual intercourse between a husband and a wife having the age of 15 years thus safeguards such acts from prosecution. As per present law the women is presumed to give consent to have sexual relations with husband after marriage.
Till now the Delhi High court is hearing a number of petitions challenging the validity of the exception to section 375 of the Indian penal code these petitions were filed by different NGOs and Rit foundation.
Constitutional validity of exception 2 section 375
The Indian constitution talks about right to equality under article 14 but the exception under section 375 discriminates against women raped by their own husbands this exception denies equal protection from rape and sexual harassment.
Exception 2 under section 375 also violates Article 21 of the Indian constitution that states : Neither person shall be denied of personal liberty.
The exception provided under section 375 gives priority to the unmarried women and discriminates against the married one, forced sexual inter is a clear violation of fundamental rights the consent also falls under the ambit of right to privacy there is no explicit ruling that provides that says women lose their fundamental right to privacy after marriage, every women has a fundamental right to give consent and to say no.
In Indian society marriage is considered as a sacred vow but it doesn’t mean that women is always ready and willing to have sexual intercourse with the husband even the supreme court has the importance of right to privacy and bodily autonomy of a married woman in cohabiting relations. In 2018 supreme court while decriminalizing adultery the court stated that even marital relations are not exempted from constitutional scrutiny, so there is a hope that this issue will be a part of discussion in the parliament and strict law should be made for the same.