Criminalisation of Marital Rape: Understanding its Constitutional, Cultural and Legal Impact

Criminalisation of Marital Rape: Understanding its Constitutional, Cultural and Legal Impact

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Volume 11 Issue 1 ()

The law in India does not criminalise marital rape, i.e. the Indian Penal Code, 1860 does not recognise that it is a crime for a husband to rape his wife. The reasons for this are manifold and can be found in various reports of the Law Commission, Parliamentary debates and judicial decisions. The reasons range from protecting the sanctity of the institution of marriage to the already existing alternative remedies in law. In this paper, we depict how these arguments advanced to not criminalise marital rape are erroneous. Through an analysis of Article 14 of the Constitution of India, we argue that the marital rape exception clause found in the Indian Penal Code, 1860 is wholly unconstitutional. Further, we note the lack of existing alternative remedies for a woman to seek redress under if she is raped by her husband. We conclude on the note that criminalisation of marital rape is wholly necessary. We propose a model for the same by suggesting amendments to criminal law as well as noting the changes required in civil law, particularly the law relating to divorce.

Cite as: Raveena Rao Kallakuru & Pradyumna Soni, Criminalisation of Marital Rape: Understanding its Constitutional, Cultural and Legal Impact, 11 NUJS L. Rev. 4 (2018)