GS Paper-II: Mechanisms, laws, institutions, and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Context- Editorial In The Hindu

marital rape

Marital Rape

If one of the spouses indulges in sexual intercourse with his/her other partner without his/her consent, is defined as marital rape.

Rape in India continues with the patriarchal outlook of considering women to be the property of men post marriage with no autonomy.

Today more than 100 countries of the world criminalized marital rape.

Why need to criminalized marital rape?

1)Marriage should not give a right to the husband to forcibly rape his wife with impunity.

2)Doctrine of Coverture: Marital exemption to IPC’s definition of rape as drafted based on the victorian patriarchal norm that did not recognize men and women as equal. It did not allow married women to own property and merge the identity of husband and wife under DOC.

3)Everyone is equal hence individuals’ human rights does not ignore by anyone, including their spouse. Women have also the right to be treated equally under Article-14 of the constitution.

4)Married woman have the same right to control their own body as an unmarried woman does.

5)Woman are entitled to refuse sexual relations with her husbands as the right to bodily integrity and privacy is an intrinsic part of Article 21 of the constitution.

6)Supreme court has included sanctity of women & freedom to make choices related to sexual activity under the ambit of Article -21 of the constitution.

7)Rape is not ground for divorce hence women feel helpless and keep suffering in silence.

8)Criminalizing marital rape ensures women are safer from an abusive spouse and can save themselves from domestic violence and sexual abuse.

9)Women raped by stranger lives with horrible memories, women raped by their husband live with their husband throughout their life.

10)JS Verma committee (Nirbhaya gang-rape case) also recommends the government should criminalize marital rape.

Why not to criminalized?

1)Implementation Problem-If all sexual act by a man with his wife is considered rape, then judgment as to whether it is marital rape or not will singularly rest with a wife who cannot always be trusted.

2)Misuses of law- It will be an easy tool for harassing the husband (same as there are many fake cases has been reported under 498A of IPC)

3)Destabilized marriage as an institution- may create anarchy in the family and destabilize marriage as an institution, thereby destroying family platforms that uphold the family values and help in sustaining the country.

4)Diversity in the Culture of states-It is not fit in the Indian Context as various factors like literacy, lack of financial empowerment of females, the mindset of society, poverty, etc. should be considered before criminalized marital rape.

5)Only criminalizing marital rape will not help, moral and social awareness plays a vital role in stopping such acts.

6)Law Commission after thoroughly examining the matter did not recommend criminalized marital rape.


It will be a good step toward empowering married women by criminalizing marital rape but before doing this government should take steps to change the mindset of our society and develop such a mechanism that ensures it can not be misused.

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