Marital Rape Hearing-Marriage Does Not Mean That Wife Should Always Be Willing To Engage In Sexual Relations: Delhi HC

Marital Rape Hearing-Marriage Does Not Mean That Wife Should Always Be Willing To Engage In Sexual Relations: Delhi HC

Hearing petitions demanding criminalisation of marital rape, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday reportedly asserted that marriage does not mean that the wife should always be willing to consent to have physical relations with her husband.

The observation was made by a Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar, on a Petition by the RIT Foundation, with the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) and a marital rape victim.

“Marriage does not mean that the woman is all time ready, willing and consenting (for establishing physical relations). The man will have to prove that she was a consenting party,” the Bench was quoted as saying.

As per an IndianExpress report, during the hearing on Tuesday, the Court disagreed with the submissions made by the NGO Men Welfare Trust, which has joined in as an intervenor, opposing the plea for criminalising marital rape asserting that this would serve as a tool to harass men.

The Court refused to accept the argument advanced by the NGO that wives are already protected from sexual violence in a marriage under the available laws, including the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. Rejecting the submission, the Court shot back demanding an explanation for the exception to Section 375 of the IPC, which excludes from the definition of criminal rape sexual relations between husband and wife.

“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…

…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,” it observed.

The matter will now be heard on 8 August.