Explained: Why Marital Rape is still not a crime in India?
Till now, only 36 countries are left which have not criminalized this offense. Unfortunately, India is one of them.-
A number of petitions have been filed in India on the criminalization of Marital Rape. This is a sensitive issue and it needs utmost attention. But before answering Why Marital Rape is still not a crime in India, let us put some light on what does Marital Rape means.
What is Marital Rape?
Marital Rape, also known as Spousal rape is an act of sexual intercourse with one’s spouse without the spouse’s consent. It is considered a form of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Such cases are more widely experienced by women, though not exclusively.
Till now, only 36 countries are left which have not criminalized this offense. Unfortunately, India is one of them. Despite the fact that one out of every three women in India between the age of 15 to 50, who have been married have faced some kind of violence from their spouses.
It is time for India to join the list of 150 countries that have criminalized Marital Rape.
Why Marital Rape is still not a crime in India?
Marital Rape is not a crime in India due to a lack of its legal system. According to section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, a man is said to commit rape if he penetrates his penis or inserts, to any extent, any object or a part of the body, not being the penis into the private part of a woman or manipulates any part of the body of a woman under any circumstances:
1. against her will;
2. without her consent;
3. with her consent where her consent is obtained by putting her into fear of death or hurt or when her consent is obtained when she is intoxicated or in a state of unsound mind or
4. when she believes she is lawfully married to that person but he is not her husband or
5. when she is under the age of 18 or when is unable to communicate the consent.
This is rape.
However, there is an exception to this law which states that a man who does not engage in intercourse with his wife who is not under the age of 15 years is not said to have committed rape.
India needs to wake up as a strong law is required against Marital Rape.
As for now, the victims of marital rape can file their complaints under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 (PWDVA) which came into force in 2006.
In 2018, a bill was introduced by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor in Lok Sabha, called the Women’s Sexual, Reproductive and Menstrual Rights Bill, 2018, to criminalize marital rape. Unfortunately, the bill lapsed as it failed to get support from the members in Lok Sabha.