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Author: Khyati Mudliyar, III year of B.A.,LL.B.(H) from Amity Law School, Amity University Chhattisgarh

Co-author: Sourav Agrawal, IV year of B.B.A.,LL.B.(H) from Amity Law School, Amity University Chhattisgarh

When anyone pointed out the term rape, the aptness is to believe in anyone who is a stranger, a nasty person. Generally, no one thinks of rapes in the ambient of marriage. females themselves find it difficult to accept that a hubby can rape his wifey. however, how can a man be charged with rape if he is beneficial from his connubial rights? It is something that a lady has no right to her own body, and her will is all that matters to her husband. Though marital rape is the most common and shocking form of masochism in Indian society, it is well cover behind the iron curtain of marriage. While the lawful definition differs, marital rape can be defined as any undesirable sexual intercourse or penetration (vaginal, anal, or oral) attained by force, the threat of force, or when the wifey is incapable to consent. Despite the prevalence of marital rape, this problem has received relatively little attention from social scientists, practitioners, the criminal justice system, and the larger society as a whole. The woman has been given the power to fight for Défense once the violators are outside entities, however, once the wrongdoer of her bodily integrity is her husband, who she married with all the elegance and show, such protection is withdrawn by the legislators.

The word “rape” has derived from. the term ‘rapio’, which suggests ‘to seize’. Rape is thus, physical seizure, or the ravishment of a lady without her consent, by force, threat of force, or fraud. It involves powerful, non-consensual sexual intercourse with women. Rape can be viewed as an act of violence of the private person of a woman, an outrage by all means. It is the ultimate violation of the self of a woman. The Supreme Court of India has aptly described it as ‘deathless shame and the gravest crime against human dignity. Rape is not merely a physical assault but is destructive of the whole persona of the victim.

The law failed to conceptualize it as an associate offence against the person of the lady, one that destroys her freedom; rather, it formed rape as an associate instrument for shielding a man’s property from the sexual aggressions of alternative men. thus the act of rape within the marriage wasn't recognized as an associate offence as the girl was thought of as the property of the husband, and a person couldn't be appeared to violate his property. Marital rape is especially sophisticated as a result of the complicated, personal nature of marital status relationships makes it onerous for the victim to even see herself as a victim, including news the offending act to the authorities, that is why marital status Rape is one in all the extremely under-reported violent crimes. Even the ladies who do contemplate themselves victims area unit antithetical to approach the authorities as a result of their financially dependent upon their husbands, and news the matter may fine end in withdrawal of monetary support exploit them and their youngsters while not food and shelter.

Today several countries have either enacted marital status rape laws, repealed marital status rape exceptions, or have laws that don't distinguish between marital status rape and normal rape. These countries include Albania, Algeria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mauritania, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Scotland, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, Tunisia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and recently, Indonesia. Turkey criminalized marital rape in 2005, Mauritius and Thailand country did thus in 2007. The law-making of marital status rape in these countries each in Asia and around the world indicates that marital status rape is currently recognized as a violation of human rights. In 2006, it was estimated that marital status rape is an associate offence punished under the criminal code in a minimum of one hundred countries and India isn't one among them. even supposing marital status rape is prevailing in India, it's hidden behind the sacred curtains of a wedding.

There are lots of legislation and enactments passed in India in relevance violence against girls in her own houses like laws against dowry, cruelty, domestic violence, and feminine infanticide. but the largest and therefore the most shameful wrong among a wedding, wherever a husband forces himself upon his better half thinking that it's his nuptial right to possess sex along with his better half (with or without her consent), ‘marital rape’, has didn't gain recognition as against the law within the eyes of policymakers.

Women who are raped by their husbands are to be raped again and again. They experience not only vaginal rape but also oral and anal rape. Husbands usually rape their wives after they are asleep, or use coercion, verbal threats, physical violence, or weapons to force their wives into having non-consensual sex with them.

Marital rape may be a major problem that several ladies worldwide got to suffer and face such abuse on a day-after-day basis. it's troublesome to get the correct information and rape and violence against ladies inside the family, partially as a result of ladies are reluctant to report incidents, as ladies raped by their husbands might hesitate to report as a result of family loyalty, worry of their abuser’s retribution, inability to leave the relationship, safeguarding the long run of their kids, or the very fact that there are not any demanding laws in effect protective the victims of marital status rape. Despite underreporting, matrimonial rape unquestionably has a vast impact on the lives of girls who has experience it. According to another estimate, approximately 10% to 14% of married women experience rape within marriage. Marital rape is ideally the worst kind of rape, as a result of the wrongdoer is somebody the girl is aware of, trusts, and loves which makes it the worst betrayal and tougher to agitate.

Marital Rape and Laws in India

The final version of section 375 of the Indian Penal code, which emerged once

deliberations in the select committee is a crystallized form of Clause 359 of Macaulay’s Draft Penal code. Section 375[i], the provision of rape within the Indian Penal Code (IPC), has echoing very archaic sentiments, mentioned as its exception clause- “Sexual intercourse by man together with his adult female, the adult female not being underneath fifteen years older, isn't rape.” The provision of rape within the Indian Penal code (IPC), has to ring archaic sentiments, mentioned as its exception clause- “Sexual intercourse by man along with his wife, the wife not being below fifteen years of age, isn't rape.”

Section 376 of IPC provides a penalty for rape. According to the Section, the assailant ought to be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than 7 years however which may extend life or for a term extending up to ten years and shall even be at risk of fine unless the women raped is his partner, and isn't below twelve years age, in which case, he shall be rebuked with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend two years with fine or with both. This section is dealing with sexual assault, in a very slender ambit lays down that, an offence of rape within matrimonial bonds stands only if the wife is less than 12 years of age if she is between twelve to fifteen years, an offence is committed, however, less serious, attracting a milder penalty. Once, the age crosses fifteen, there's no legal protection accorded to the wife, indirect dispute of human rights rules. How can the same law provide for the legal age of consent for marriage to be 18 whereas protective form sexual offence, solely those up to the age of fifteen? beyond the age of 15, there's no remedy the lady has. The Indian Penal code was amended in 1983 to make way for the criminalization of spousal rape during the period of judicial separation.[ii]

As per the Indian Penal Code, the instances whereby the husband may be reprehensively prosecuted for an offence of marital rape are as under:-

1.When the wife is between 12 – 15 years of age, an offence punishable with imprisonment up to 2 years or fine, or both;[iii]

2.When the wife is below 12 years of age, an offence punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than 7 years but which may extend to life or for a term extending up to 10 years and shall also be liable to fine.[iv]

3.Rape of a judicially separated wife, an offence punishable with imprisonment up to 2 years and fine;[v]

4.Rape of a wife of above 15 years in age is not punishable.[vi]


In light of this, the thought that a girl (wife) should get it on together with her husband no matter her will, consent, health, etc, is unacceptable to a civilized society. Therefore there is no justification or applicability of the notion of marital within the current times. Indeed, the mere criminalization of marital rape in India will not end the problem, but it sure is an important step towards changing women’s experience of sexual violence in a marriage. It is high time that the concept of “rape is rape, irrespective of the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator” is recognized by the law and put strictly to force.

Though a husband’s violent and non-consensual act of intercourse could entitle a wife to bring an action for criminal assault, inquiry, or marital relief, what's required is that the incorporation of the principle of liability for marital status rape in our penal laws. Not solely child-brides, however, all wives would like legal protection from rape during the wedding. It's time that the dignity and freedom of a lady over her body and person should be recognized.

Can the State extremely enter the realm of the home? The answer to this is a “yes”. It already does, within the cases of cruelty, divorce, and dowry demands, then why leave the foremost atrocious and grievous crime outside the orbit of the State and laws. Why should the world of marital status rape stay on the far side its pale? The State that doesn't involve itself at the time of the wedding however acts as AN go-between throughout divorce should defend a woman’s right to her body. The woman has and continues to be victimized by men and society, there's a requirement to acknowledge her as a personality's being, away from the ancient notion of her being a mere personal property, and provide her respect and also the dignity she deserves. The paternal power structures have deemed wedding to be a license to legal unwilling sex. there's a complete negation of the self-image of a lady.

[i]The section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) reads: —A man is said to commit “rape” who, except in the case hereinafter excepted, has sexual intercourse with a woman under circumstances falling under any of the six following descriptions: —

First.— Against her will.

Secondly.—Without her consent.

Thirdly.— With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested in fear of death or of hurt.

Fourthly.—With her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband and that her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully married.

Fifthly.— With her consent, when, at the time of giving such consent, because of unsoundness of mind or intoxication or the administration by him personally or through another of any stupefying or unwholesome substance, she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that to which she gives consent.

Sixthly.— With or without her consent, when she is under sixteen years of age.


Penetration is sufficient to constitute the sexual intercourse necessary to the offence of rape.

Exception. —Sexual intercourse by a man with his wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.

[ii] Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), Section 376A. Intercourse by a man with his wife during separation.—Whoever has sexual intercourse with his wife, who is living separately from him under a decree of separation or any custom or usage without her consent shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years and shall also be liable to fine

[iii] Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), Section 376(1).


[v] Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), Section 376A.

[vi] Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), Exception to Section 375.


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