Indian Law on Rape as a Criminal Offence

Indian law treats rape as a criminal offence. It falls under criminal law in India. The Indian Penal Code (IPC) defines rape as intentional, unlawful sexual intercourse with a woman, without her permission.

Section 375, of the Indian Penal Code provides that a man having sexual intercourse with a woman amounts to rape, in following circumstances, such as:

•Against her will.

•Without her permission or if the permission has been obtained forcefully or by putting her under fear.

•With her permission, when the man is aware that he is not the legal husband of the woman, but she believes that he is another man to whom she is legally wedded.

•With her consent, when she is not in proper state of mind, to judge the consequences of such an act.

•With or without her permission, when she is below sixteen years.

An offender is liable to be punished with an imprisonment of minimum 7 years to maximum 10 years and fine. Further, if the offence is committed in custody or on an expecting woman, or a woman below 12 years or gang rape, the punishment will be minimum 10 years of imprisonment.

However, the definition of rape under the Indian laws does not cover forced oral sex or sodomy. These acts are separately covered under section 354, of IPC, which deals with criminal assault and outraging the modesty of a woman. Section 377 of IPC deals with unnatural sexual acts while Indian law does not recognize forced sexual intercourse by a man with his wife, above 15 years, as an act of rape.

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