Delhi HC Considers Criminalising Marital Rape, People Are Worried It Will Be Misused

While several Indian courts have penalized people accused of marital abuse of any kind and stated that marital rape is a valid ground for divorce, the fact that marital rape is still legal in India stays put.

However, this status might soon change as the Delhi High Court is currently hearing petitions seeking to criminalize marital rape, reported The Indian Express.

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Several petitioners have asked the lawmakers to strike down section 375 of the Indian Penal Code that protects men who have forced non-consensual intercourse with their wives from criminal prosecution.

In this regard, the bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher and Justice C Hari Shankar hearing the petition asked, “Just because she is married, does she lose her right to say ‘no’?” reported The Wire. It further elaborated, “Is the firewall justifiable on the test of Articles 14 and 21? It is only that narrow aspect that we have to look into. To say that the wife can go and seek divorce if the husband imposes himself on her is not the issue here.”

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“Why is it so different from an unmarried woman? It affects an unmarried woman’s dignity but it does not affect the dignity of a married woman? How is it? What is the answer to this? Does she lose her right to say ‘no’? Have 50 countries (which have made marital rape an offence) got it wrong?” 

Senior Advocate Rajshekhar Rao, an amicus curiae in the case submitted that act of non-consensual sexual intercourse or ‘rape’ is abhorrent and inherently violative of the basic right to life and liberty guaranteed under Article 21. “It violates a woman’s right to equality, personal and sexual autonomy, and reproductive choices.”

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A lot is currently happening in the court in regards to deciding whether or not marital rape will be criminalized in India. And while that happens, people online have also started putting forth their arguments defending and supporting the petition.

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A huge number of people expressed concern that if marital rape is criminalized, it will be misused against men.

Surprisingly, some of the people online have also come up with a #MenToo campaign in reference to the #MeToo campaign advocating sexual abuse and encouraging victims to speak up. What are your opinions on this matter?

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