Marital rape: The central government has taken a firm stand against criminalising marital rape, according to reports. In an affidavit to the Delhi High Court, the Centre cited that what ‘may appear to be marital rape’ to a wife ‘may not appear so to others’. The government also said ‘criminalising the marital rape may destabilise the institution of marriage apart from being an easy tool for harassing the husbands’, according to Indian Express report.
The Centre, in an affidavit filed in response to pleas seeking criminalising marital rape, had said the Supreme Court and various High Courts have already observed the growing misuse of section 498A (harassment caused to a married woman by her husband and in-laws) of IPC. The reply, filed before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar, also sought to implead state governments in the matter to know their opinion to avoid any complication at a later stage.
The centre also said that the “rising misuse of Section 498A of IPC”, commonly known as the dowry law, to demonstrate how laws dealing with violence against women can be misused ‘for harassing the husbands’.
Section 375 of the IPC dealing with rape but makes an exception for such instances within marriages and holds that “sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape”. No other statute or law recognises marital rape, and victims only have recourse to civil remedies provided under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.