Invalidating Spousal Exemption: Need of Marital Rape Law in India

Rimcy Keshri
Jindal Global Law School, India.

Volume II – Issue I, 2020

The Constitution of India guarantees equality before law and protection of life and personal liberty[1].  However, these rights have proven to be iniquitous to married women by not being able to protect their dignity in their own homes. Women in India are discriminated on the basis of their marital status. A man having sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent is called a rapist, and is punished accordingly by the Court for his crimes. On the other hand, the Indian Judiciary puts on a blindfold when a man forces his wife to have sexual intercourse with him against her will. Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code only recognizes marital rape in cases where the wife is under the age of eighteen years.[2]  The question that arises is that how can a woman’s bodily integrity be discriminated on the basis of her marital status. Indian Constitution ensures equality to all, but refuses to recognize the sexual autonomy of a married woman. A country which claims to be progressing and modernizing is still under the shackles of patriarchy that tries to own women in the name of marriage. The Indian Judiciary has been helping these patriarchs by claiming to support the pillars and sanctity of marriage.


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