Marital Rape – Legal Challenges

 

Context:

• In the recent past there are arguments challenging the constitutionality of the marital rape exception in Section 375 of the IPC.

 

Background:

• The cases that come before the courts virtually always affect the outcomes of judicial procedures.
• This decision came as a consequence of a one-of-a-kind case in which a lady filed a criminal rape charge against her husband after being subjected to several acts of sexual assault.
• Despite the marital rape exception, the police filed a report under Section 376, a charge sheet was filed, and the Sessions Judge took cognizance and framed charges under Section 376.
• The husband requested that the Section 376 charge be dropped, but the Sessions Judge denied his request. As a result, the husband went to the High Court to have the criminal charges quashed.
• Justice Nagaprasanna refused to quash the order in a sophisticated and far-reaching decision.
• The Constitution views marriage as a partnership of equals and does not portray women as inferior to men in any way.
• Articles 14, 15, 19, and 21 of the Constitution guarantee women the fundamental rights of dignity, personal liberty, bodily integrity, sexual autonomy, reproductive autonomy, privacy, and freedom of speech and expression.

 

Earlier Judgements:

• There have already been other decisions that have led to the abolition of this exception.
• The Supreme Court of India weakened it in Independent Thought vs Union of India (2017), removing the exception to marital rape for a wife under the age of 15 and increasing it to 18 years.
• The Court ruled that because this was not the case before it, this would not amount to deleting the exemption to marital rape for women over the age of 18, although Justice Madan B. Lokur stated, ” a rape is a rape, A rape that truly occurs cannot be wished away or denied as non-existent through legislation.”
• The Supreme Court ruled that a girl cannot be treated as a commodity with no control over her life.

 

Source: THE HINDU.

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