October 11, 2018
9 months

In India, where marital rape is not recognised as a crime, section 377 emerges as an alternative tool for married women. Explain the statement and discuss the impact of the recent apex court judgment in this regard. (200 words)

Refer – The Hindu

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IAS Parliament 8 months


·         An exemption to Indian rape law (IPC: Sec 375) says, “sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape. Thus, it doesn’t recognise marital rape as crime.

Sec 377 – an alternative

·         Unlike Section 375, Section 377 (which criminalizes sexual activities against the order of nature) contains no marital exception.

·         As a result, it has been possible to innovatively invoke it to proceed against husbands who subject their wives to penetrative non-consensual sexual acts which, it could be argued, are unnatural.

·         Section 377 thus, in some circumstances, can accord relief to wives whose husbands rape them.

·         In a legal context in which marital rape is not recognised, Section 377 emerges as a tool for married women to highlight the “unnaturalabuse they face.

Impact of SC judgment

·         A recent judgment by the SC decriminalised homosexuality and read down Section 377 to apply only to minors and in cases of bestiality.

·         From the judgment, it is unclear whether abused married women will be able to use the law in quite the same way as they did before.

Road to future

·         If physically abused by their husbands, wives should be able to register a case without having to use the circuitous paths.

·         A far more effective and progressive strategy would be for the state to criminalise marital rape.

·         This could be done by passing a new law or merely removing the exemption in Section 375.

Tapasvi 9 months

Kindly review

IAS Parliament 8 months

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