22 Dec 2022 6:26 AM GMT
The Karnataka Government has supported the prosecution of a husband in a case for marital rape. The State has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court supporting a Karnataka High Court judgment which sustained the charges framed against a husband under Section 376 IPC for forcible sex with wife.In this connection, it is worthwhile to note that the Central Government had refrained from taking...
The Karnataka Government has supported the prosecution of a husband in a case for marital rape. The State has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court supporting a Karnataka High Court judgment which sustained the charges framed against a husband under Section 376 IPC for forcible sex with wife.
In this connection, it is worthwhile to note that the Central Government had refrained from taking a clear stand on criminalizing marital rape in the petitions filed before the Delhi High Court challenging the exception 2 to Section 375 IPC.
The Karnataka High Court had pronounced the verdict while refusing to quash the FIR for marital rape. A single bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna held that the Exception 2 to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code - which exempts a husband from the offence of rape against his wife - is not "absolute". "A man is a man; an act is an act; rape is a rape, be it performed by a man the "husband" on the woman "wife"", the High Court had observed. Without making any pronouncement on the constitutionality of the marital rape exception, the High Court held that the exemption of the husband on committal of such assault/rape, in the peculiar facts and circumstances of this case, cannot be absolute, as no exemption in law can be so absolute that it becomes a license for the commission of a crime against society.
Aggrieved by the High Court verdict, the husband filed the special leave petition before the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court bench comprising the former Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Hima Kohli had passed an order of ad-interim stay of the High Court's judgment.
The affidavit filed by the State submits that the Karnataka High Court was correct in its decision of ordering the trial of a man for allegedly raping his wife. It further states that whether the charge finally stands or not is a matter of trial and that the accused in the case cannot be absolved at this stage despite the immunity against marital rape provided to husbands under IPC.
The affidavit also provides for the suggestions recommended by the Justice JS Verma committee, which was set up to propose amendments in criminal laws. The committee received around 80,000 suggestions and finalised its 644-page report in 2013, proposing that "the exception for marital rape be removed" and the law must "specify that a marital or other relationship between the perpetrator or victim is not a valid defence against the crimes of rape or sexual violation".
"The High Court of Karnataka has considered all the questions of law involved in the present petition and it does not require any interference by the Supreme Court", the State Government's affidavit stated while seeking dismissal of the husband's challenge against the HC verdict.
This matter has been clubbed along with the petitions challenging the Delhi High Court's split verdict in the pleas to criminalize marital rape.
Case Title: HRISHIKESH SAHOO And STATE OF KARNATAKA & Ors | SLP(Crl) 4063/2022