Marital Rapes In India



Marital rape or spousal rape is the act of sexual intercourse with one’s spouse without the spouse’s consent. The lack of consent is the essential element and need not involve physical violence. Marital rape is considered a form of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Although, historically, sexual intercourse within marriage was regarded as a right of spouses, engaging in the act without the spouse’s consent is now widely classified as rape by many societies around the world. Rape is also considered an unlawful sex without assent of a man because of physical drive or dangers, or due to deceitful demonstration of perpetuator. In India rape by an outsider is a penal offense under Section 375 and 376 of IPC. Shockingly, it unequivocally avoids marital rape from ambit of conviction. Marital rape is sex by spouse with his better half without her assent or by compel or danger. Historically, in much of the world, rape was seen as a crime or tort of theft of a man’s property (usually either a husband or father). In this case, property damage meant that the crime was not legally recognized as damaging to the victim, but instead to her father or husband’s property. Therefore, by definition a husband could not rape his wife. The view that a husband cannot be charged with the rape of his wife was described by Sir Matthew Hale in History of the Pleas of the Crown in 1736, where he wrote that “The husband cannot be guilty of a rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife, for by their mutual consent and contract the wife hath given up herself in this kind unto her husband, which she cannot retract”. Today numerous nations have either established marital rape laws, revoked marital rape special cases or have laws that do not recognize marital rape and ordinary rape. This demonstrates marital rape is currently perceived as an infringement of human rights. In 2006, it was assessed that marital rape is an offense rebuffed under the criminal law in no less than 100 nations and India is not one of them. Despite the fact that there have been a lot of enactments and institutions gone in India as to brutality against lady in her own particular house, similar to laws against female child murder and abusive behavior at home, marital rape has neglected to pick up acknowledgment as a wrongdoing according to strategy producers. Marital rapes in India, is holed up behind the hallowed drapes of marriage.


Marital rape is not an offense in India. Enactments in regards to marital rape in India are either non-existent or esoteric and dependant on the understanding by Courts. Section 375, the provision of rape in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), mentions as its exception clause- “Sexual intercourse by man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape.” As per section 376 of IPC, which provides punishment for rape, the rapist ought to be rebuffed with detainment of either portrayal for a term which might not be under 7 years but rather which may stretch out to life or for a term reaching out up to 10 years and should likewise be at risk to fine unless the lady raped is his own particular spouse, and is not under 12 years old, in which case, he might be rebuffed with detainment of either depiction for a term which may reach out to 2 years with fine or with both.
The law criminalizes rape in most cases, although marital rape is not illegal when the woman is over the age of 18. However, until 2017, men married to those between 15 and 18 could not be convicted of rape. Marital rape of an adult wife, who is unofficially or officially separated, is a criminal offence punishable by 2 to 7 year in prison; it is not dealt by normal rape laws which stipulate the possibility of a death sentence. According to the Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act (2005), other married women subject to “sexual nature that abuses, humiliates, degrades or otherwise violates the dignity of woman” by their husband may demand for financial compensation including regular allowances and child custody. They also have the right to continue to live in their marital household if they wish, or may approach shelter or aid homes. However, marital rape is still not a criminal offence in this case and is only a misdemeanour.
Hence marital rape is viewed as a rape just if the spouse is under 15 years old, and the seriousness of punishment is milder. There is no lawful security agreed to the spouse after the age of 15, which is against human rights directions. A similar law that accommodate the lawful period of agree for marriage to be 18, shields from sexual mishandle just those up to the age of 15. According to the Indian Penal Code, the cases wherein the spouse can be criminally arraigned for an offense of marital rape are as under:
When the wife is between 12 – 15 years of age, offence punishable with imprisonment upto 2 years or fine, or both.
The concept of marital rape in India is the epitome of what we call an ‘implied consent’. Marriage between a man and a woman in India implies that both have consented to sexual intercourse and it cannot be otherwise. The Indian Penal Code, 1860 also communicates the same.
On the other hand, Section 375 exception 2 absolves a husband from any crime if he happens to rape his wife. Both the laws make it absolutely ambiguous and need to be fixed. Interestingly, a legislation against marital rape came into being without actually calling it ‘marital rape’. Thus, the hesitance to interfere into the sexual life of a married couple and to name it after a heinous crime as such of a rape.
In 2005, the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 was passed which considers marital rape as a type of local violence. Under this Act, a lady can go to the court and get legal partition from her husband for marital rape. Marital rape is unreasonable: is a lady’s body raped, as well as her affection and trust is damaged in this way throwing her might be instability and dread. Her human rights are relinquished at the holy place of marriage. However the laws to secure the interests of the casualties of marital rape are lacking and deficient, and the means taken are unacceptable.
The fundamental commence of these “laws” includes an agree to draw in into sexual action. However, does consenting to participate in sexual action mean agree to being exacted with sexual viciousness? Brutality makes a feeling of dread and instability making the lady submit to sex. It is not the same as consenting to sex. The refinement amongst assent and non-assent in contradistinction is central to criminal law.
Section 375 of the IPC is probably the only provision that in itself discriminates between two groups of the same sex; married women and unmarried women. It is absurd to have a law in which, one part protects all women from sexual violence but at the same time permits marital rape of a married woman by her husband. This discrimination is in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Through various judgements of the Supreme Court, it is now clear that right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution includes right to privacy, sanctity of female and to make choices relating to sexual activity. Section 375 Exception 2 stands against these very basic human rights and is contradictory in nature to the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. And yet, it is still clung on to a law that absolutely defeats its very purpose to protect women from rape, which needs to be struck down as unconstitutional.
It is unexpected that a lady can ensure her entitlement to life and freedom, however not her body inside her marriage. The very meaning of rape (section 375 of IPC) should be changed. The main resort for ladies so far is section 498-A of the IPC, managing remorselessness, to ensure themselves against “unreasonable sexual direct by the spouse”. In any case, there is no standard of measure or translation for the courts, of ‘perversion’ or ‘unnatural’ within imply spousal relations. Is unreasonable interest for sex unreasonable? Isn’t assent a sine qua non? Is marriage a permit to rape? There is no answer, on the grounds that the judiciary and the legislatures are quiet.


In Francis Corallie Muin v. Union Territory of Delhi case, the idea of right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution was highlighted. As per this case Article 21 incorporates the right to live with human dignity and all that accompanies it, to be specific, the minimum essentials of life, for example, adequate nutrition, clothing and shelter over the head and facilities for reading, writing and expressing oneself in diverse forms, freely moving about and mixing and mingling with fellow human beings. The right to live with human dignity is a standout amongst the most fundamental component of the right to life which perceives the independence of a person.
The Supreme Court has held in a catena of cases that the offense of rape abuses the right to life and the right to live with human dignity of the victim of the crime of rape. One such example is The Chairman, Railway Board v/s Chandrima Das. The Supreme Court has observed that rape is not merely an offence under the Indian Penal Code, but is a crime against the society as whole. In Bodhisattwa Gautam v. Subhra Chakraborty court held that rape is to a lesser degree a sexual offense than a demonstration of hostility gone for corrupting and mortifying the ladies. In this manner the marital exception principle is violative of spouse’s entitlement to live with human dignity. Any law which damages ladies’ entitlement to live with dignity and gives spouse appropriate to drive wife to have sexual intersourse without her will is along these lines unlawful.
In the case of State of Maharashtra v. Madhukar Narayan the Supreme Court has held that every woman is entitled to her sexual privacy and it is not open to for any and every person to violate her privacy as and whenever he wished. The Supreme Court, in State of Maharashtra vs. Madhukar Narayan Mandikar has alluded to one side of security over one’s body. What is tragic here is to watch how court has advantageously put spouse out and has yet not given her protection over her own body while ladies who have been subjected to rape by stranger have that perfectly fine is criminalized however not marital rape. For this situation it was chosen that a prostitute has the right to deny sex on the off chance that she was unwilling.
In the landmark case of Vishakha v. State of Rajasthan the Supreme Court extended this right of privacy in working environments also. Further, along a similar line we can translate that there exists a right of privacy to go into a sexual relationship even inside a marriage. Subsequently by decriminalizing rape inside a marriage, the marital exception teaching damages this right of privacy of a wedded lady and is consequently is illegal.


From the beginning women are fighting for their rights. Even after such a long time with modernization, still Indian Society failed to consider the right of the married women entirely when question comes about her Dignity.
Law is not silent regarding the protection of women in India but it is silent when question comes before it for the protection of women?
Whether Rape is committed by her husband or an unknown the pain of the women is not less in none of the case as in both the cases she has to face the same agony. Then why such pain is not reachable in the ear of our Government or we can say that Government of India is waiting for another Nirbhaya where this time girl will be a married one and the offender will be her Husband. If this the fate of the Indian women then God only knows when the day will come and who will be the lucky victim whose name will be written in Golden letter in the history of India for sacrificing her life to bring Marital Rape as a punishable offence under Section 375 of IPC.
My only suggestion is that this is the high time to include the Marital Rape as crime under section 375 of IPC for the protection of women and also for the sake of the society. When mother will be healthy then only she can give birth to a healthy baby. In which future of our country is depends.

SC Says Protecting ‘Institution Of Marriage’ Is Above Marital Rape
Rape in India § Marital rape, and Violence against women in India § Marital rape

Advocate N.K. Verma - Banking & DRT Advocate in Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana, High Court | Best Banking & DRT Lawyers | DRT Advocates Chandigarh |