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Criminalisation of marital rape: Delhi HC verdict split, matter to be heard by Supreme Court

  • Criminalisation of marital rape: Two judges Bench of Delhi HC pronounced the split verdict on criminalising marital rape.
    Criminalisation of marital rape: Two judges Bench of Delhi HC pronounced the split verdict on criminalising marital rape.
Region:
India
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Society
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According to the order passed by Justice Rajiv Shakdher, husbands can be held criminally liable for sexual relations without the consent of the wife while Justice C Harishankar showed disagreement with this view.

 

Two judges Bench of Delhi HC pronounced the split verdict on criminalising marital rape. Justice Rajiv Shakdher rules in favour of criminalising while Justice Hari Shankar disagrees -holds that Exception 2 to Sec 375 doesn't violate Constitution as it's based on intelligible different.

According to the order passed by Justice Rajiv Shakdher, husbands can be held criminally liable for sexual relations without the consent of the wife while Justice C Harishankar showed disagreement with this view.

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday delivered a split verdict on petitions seeking criminalisation of marital rape. While Justice Rajiv Shakdher struck down the Exception 2 that protects men, who have forced non-consensual intercourse with their wives, from criminal prosecution under Section 376 IPC, Justice C Hari Shankar disagreed saying that the exception doesn’t violate Article 14, 19 and 21.

Both the judges however agreed to grant certificate of leave to appeal before the Supreme Court as the matter involves substantial questions of law. The petitions seeking criminalisation of marital rape were pending before the court since 2015 and 2017. RIT Foundation and All India Democratic Women’s Association were the principal petitioners before the court.

While rejecting Centre’s request for more time to respond afresh to the petitions, the court had reserved its verdict in the case on February 21.

Is it OK for wife to refuse sex if she’s tired?

At a time when the debate over the criminalisation of marital rape is still hot, the National Family Health Survey-5 (2019-21) has revealed that a large section of men believe a woman refusing sex to her husband is justified if she’s had a long day.

At a time when the debate over the criminalisation of marital rape is still hot, the National Family Health Survey-5 (2019-21) has revealed that a large section of men believe a woman refusing sex to her husband is justified if she’s had a long day.

While 80 per cent of women participants believe refusing sex to their husband is justified for any or all of these three reasons — if he has a sexually transmitted disease; he has sex with other women; or because she is tired/not in the mood. As many as 66 per cent of Indian men agree.

However, 8 per cent of women and 10 per cent of men do not agree that a wife can refuse sex to her husband for any of these reasons.
The section on “attitudes towards negotiating safer sexual relations with husband” of Chapter 14 “Women’s empowerment” in the survey focuses on the issue of “consent” as an enabling factor in gender equality.