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marital rapeGovernment’s refusal to criminalise marital rape has been termed as “regressive” by several women rights activists but experts supporting the Centre’s stand feel there is no need to tinker with the law as it might be “misused” by some to settle scores.

The issue, which did not garner favour from the Supreme Court, has triggered a fresh debate in the wake of Minister of State for Home Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary’s statement in Parliament that the concept of marital rape cannot be applied in India where marriage is considered as a “sacrament”.

“Parliament is being regressive about it. Even Justice J S Verma Committee had recommended criminalising marital rape. India is ready but Parliament is not,” senior advocate Rebecca John said. Her view was shared by activists Ranjana Kumari and Vrinda Grover who vouched for a law protecting married women from forced sex with their spouse.

They said lawmakers do not want to give women their right against exploitation, even at the hands of their husbands.

However, this view did not find favour with some jurists who said criminalisation of marital rape will be “dangerous” in today’s scenario where instances of false implications of husband and in-laws by women are in abundance.

Two retired judges — S N Dhingra and R S Sodhi — of the Delhi High Court said it will trigger misuse of law by women to settle scores.

Differing with them and supporting the women activists, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, who took up the issue in the apex court, alleged the government was headed by “men with anti-women thinking”.

“Our government is conservative, anti-social and backward looking. It is headed by men with anti-women thinking,” he alleged, and asked “when there is law to protect women against domestic violence, then why can’t there be one for marital rape?”

According to a UN report — ‘The 2011 Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice report’ — marital rape is an offence in 52 countries, including the US, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Denmark and France

 


2 Responses to “Refusal to criminalise marital rape: Activists”

  1. anand

    Hindu marriage was considered ‘Sacramental” as the bride was given as a Gift (KANYADAN) by the Father- of the girl to the groom and the GIFT ( dear reader did you say that a Gift is generally a Chhatel object?) was ‘LEGALLY AND PROPERLY REGISTERED’ by the performance of Saptapadi.

    Even Manu accepted that the concept of THE GIFT in the Hindu marriage introduced an element of a contract. Since then the Saptapadi has been given the go by ,by the introduction the COURT MARRIAGE. A Hindu lad or a hindu Lass may marry a person of any ,existing in the world, caste or religion under the Indian (special) marriage Act. Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act as well as Sec 125 of the CrPC impose a lifelong liability on the spouse breaking the sacramental contract of wedlock by having to maintain the erstwhile wife and children as well as arrangement of compatible residential accomodation, edn of children and marriage of daughter(s).. Courts have often observed that ” A marriage, whatever else it is i.e a Sacrament or an Institution is undoubtedly a contract entered into for consideration with co-relative rights and duties”
    Amendment of 2005 to the Hindu Succession Act has demolished the very foundations of the HINDU JOINT FAMILY as propounded in Mitakshara and to some extent in the DAYABHAGA Schools of Law. A girl child is at par with the male child from her very birth.

    So much for the bewildering fog created by the word “Sacrament”

    IPC itself has to say something about the marital rape. I quote the following:

    “EXCEPTION to the Sec 375
    ” SEXUAL INTERCOURSE WITH A MAN WITH HIS WIFE NOT BEING UNDER 15 YEARS OF AGE IS NOT RAPE” ( interalia SEXUAL INTERCOURSE BY A MAN WITH HIS WIFE OF 14 Yrs 364 DAYS IS A RAPE. )

    Sec 376 (1) …. unless the women (sic) raped is his own wife and is not under twelve years of age, in which cases (sic) ,he shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend up to two years or with fine or with both”

    Whether below 15 years or 12 years of age a rape is a rape. Generally a rape is a man forcing himself on a woman without her consent. This animal act is the worst form , I repeat the- worst possible form of physical and mental violence and perpetual degradation perpetrated on a woman. The Constitution provides for equality before law and equal protection of the laws. How safe our women are in the street and in the market place is all well too known. Now in her very home she can brutalised no end by an atavistic M.C.P. masquerading under the name of “husband” , without impunity What sort of equality before law and equal protection of law is this.
    We cannot get away by saying that if we take cognisance of this kind of evil then some other kind of evil will take shape. I can only repeat what the Roman jurisprudence penned – to wit “FIAT JUSTICIA, RUAT CAELUM” translated ir would mean ” LET JUSTICE BE DONE EVEN IF THE VERY HEAVENS MAY FALL”

    Reply
  2. Bapoo Malcolm

    Marital rape IS domestic violence (DV). Only that it does not carry as high a penalty is rape by a non-spouse. The best way forward is to attract the DV provisions right now. We will get somewhere.

    Reply

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