India remains among the 30-odd nations where marital rape is not criminalised, as the Delhi High Court on Wednesday, May 11, gave a split verdict on pleas seeking to criminalise marital rape and do away except for rape laws that insulate husbands.
The bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher and Justice C Hari Shankar granted liberty to the parties to move to the Supreme Court, stating that the case involved a question of constitutional law.
As per the United Nations Women report, most of these 34 nations were developing countries, including neighbouring Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, China, Tajikistan, Haiti, Laos, Mali, Senegal, and Botswana, reported NDTV.
National Family Health Survey (NHFS)
As per the latest fifth round of the NHFS-5, 32 per cent of Indian women who have ever been married admit to having experienced spousal physical, sexual, or emotional violence.
The survey revealed that 25 per cent of the married women belonging to the age group of 18-49 years who have experienced spousal physical or sexual violence complain of sustaining physical injuries. Out of the said percentage, 7 per cent have suffered eye injuries, sprains, dislocations, or burns, and 6 per cent have reported deep wounds, broken bones, broken teeth, or any other serious injury.
India Adhering Colonial Law
India continues to adhere to the age-old colonial law in case of marital rape. The law does not recognise the unwilling sexual contact between a husband and a wife is not recognised as a criminal offence.
Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) defines all forms of sexual assault involving non-consensual intercourse with a woman as rape. One of the two exceptions provided under the same section states, "sexual intercourse by a man with his wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape".
Several activists alleged that this exception protects male from the punishable offence of rape if it is committed in a contract of marriage and violates the constitution of the country.
Also Read: 'Husband May Compel Wife To Have Sex…': Delhi HC's Split Verdict Sparks Row, Matter Reaches Supreme Court