Marriage is not about physical relation: Delhi High Court on marital rape

Marriage is not all about physical relationship and it doesn’t mean that a woman is always consenting for physical relation with her husband, the Delhi High Court said on Tuesday.

Geeta Mittal and C Hari shankar

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and C Hari Shankar said that in a relationship like marriage, both man and woman have a right to say ‘no’ to physical relations. Marriage does not mean that woman is all time ready, willing and consenting (for establishing physical relations). The men have to prove that she was a consenting party.

The court noticed after the hearing appeal seeking to make marital rape an offense and others opposing it.

The Court said, “It is incorrect to say that (physical) force is necessary for rape. It is not necessary to look for injuries in a rape. Today, the definition of rape is completely different”.

Men Welfare Trust is opposing the petitions stating marital rape an offense. NGO’s representatives Amit Lakhani and Ritwik Bisaria argued that a woman already has protection from sexual violence in a marriage under the available law like Protection of Women from Domestic Act.

To this High Court said, “ If it was already covered under other laws, why should there be an exception in Section 375 of the IPC, which says intercourse or a sexual act by a man with his wife is not rape.”

“Force is not a precondition of rape. If a man puts his wife under financial constraint and says he will not give her money for household and kids expenses unless she indulges in sex with him and she has to do it under this threat. Later, she filed a rape case against the husband, what will happen”, the court said.

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