Clamour to Criminalize Marital Rape in Indian society

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Patriarchal traditions influence the roots of Indian society; a husband raping his wife is still not considered a crime in India.

Consent is the primary concern associated with sexual intercourse, irrespective of marital status.

The conflict is evident from some of the judgements made by Indian courts in the recent past. 

In the last week of August, the Justice of Chhattisgarh high court stated that any kind of sexual intercourse by the husband, irrespective of the wife’s consent, cannot be considered rape.

In this case, the wife accused her husband of raping her and trying unnatural sex forcibly. The judge further added that the husband could be tried for forcing bizarre sex.

However, rape cannot be ruled out as per Indian law and order. The Indian legal system does not recognize marital rape, which is a significant concern for society.  

Outrage On the Judge’s Statement  

People have taken it to social media platforms to voice out their outrage. Many people suggested that the archaic laws associated with rape need amendment at the earliest.

Some social media posts question the audacity of the wife to file a complaint against her husband on the field of marital rape.

People have criticized both the judge and the victim, highlighting the need for a proper clarification on ‘consent’.  

As per a survey conducted by the Government of India, it has been found that one in every three married women experience emotional, physical and sexual abuse, specifically from their husbands.

India has been struggling to address the issue of violence against women, and however, the focus is on improving law and order to assure safety for women. It is evident that the aspect of domestic sexual violence and harassment.  

Conflicting Judgements  

In a similar case filed in the southern state of Kerala, marital rape was considered a solid field to seek divorce.

Further, the judge highlighted that there is no scope to penalize the husband according to Indian law and order, considering that this issue falls under mental and physical cruelty.

The notion that a husband owns his wife’s body cannot per entertained in modern social jurisprudence.

However, this case has created a sense of conflict as it considers marital rape as a string cause to seek divorce but fails to penalize the accused, which highlights the loophole in law and order.

The deep-rooted belief is that a wife cannot retract the consent for sex after marriage, and India is one of the 36 nations that do not recognize marital rape.

Millions of women from across the globe experience violence in their marriages and are trapped in the same.  

The Indian law and order violate the fundamental rights of women. The number of cases related to post-marital violence is increasing, and the factors contributing to the exact needs to be identified.

The barriers associated with marital rape are pretty tall, and it will take a lot of time to address this issue efficiently. A lifetime intervention will contribute towards women safety after marriage.  

Conclusion  

It is encouraging that the court identifies this act as unnatural. However, these are small wins, and the contrary verdicts by other legal institutions do not contribute to the ray of hope.

In the present-day scenario, India is identified as a modern country; however, the need to amend the existing legal system and introduce a new law and order to strengthen the system.

Poulami Sarkar
Poulami Sarkar
Statistics graduate, struggling with a sales job and a Data Science course.

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