Criminalization of Marital Rape in India: A Desirable Dream

By: Ishita Pancholi

“I say nothing, not one word, from beginning to end and neither does he, if it were lawful for a woman to hate her husband I would hate him as a rapist.”

- Philippa Gregory, the Red queen.

Male is considered as a sensible human being in our patriarchal society who always decides female spot in the social culture. It is a myth which is being created for women that she is only a wind up being an infant making for raised a new family generation and their rights are being entitled to real self-rule as well as convective rights which are in an unfavorable condition to the rights created by our legal system. Men get the privilege easily to drive her woman when he needs her, she gets extremely happy and when nothing worked out, she isn’t his priority.

Modern generation still shows how Indian families considered woman as an object or an immaterial property which does not have any sentiments and emotions attached. We are the people of this patriarchal society created some beliefs which consider rape as a stealing the respect and value of a woman and it is considered as ignorance when it comes to a marital rape because by giving marriage rights to the spouse, a woman is been on a silent mode and suffer all the consequences in future, the mentality just gives a woman an immaterial property tag which only fulfills the sexual satisfaction of a male/spouse. This insight devastating the woman’s privilege on her value and consistency.

According to the Indian Penal Code, Section 375 and 376, rape is considered as a penal offence. As marital rape is an offense where the spouse or better half done the sexual intercourse without her consent or by urge or risk. Rape, the most heinous crime; which is kept on increasing throughout the universe, isn’t just brutality against a woman but there is grave encroachment on the freedom to live and use their basic rights. But the reality check is that no certain rights given to her and there is a social disrespect if the woman stands for herself against this brutality because society believes that there is a break of trust and she is not in her limitation. Marital rape has both physical and mental outcomes and by decriminalizing it, our legal system will incorporate the security and equity from a wrongful act done by the spouse/better half.

Status in India

In India, it is a different scenario on marital rape. As per Section 375 IPC, there is an exception which clearly states about marital rape that if a spouse has done sexual intercourse with her wife and it is not under 15 years of age, it will not consider as rape, according to Section 376 IPC, which clearly states about the punishment for rape, the rapist should be rebuked with the confinement of for not under 7 years or life imprisonment or exceed up to 10 years of imprisonment which includes fine also except if the woman is being raped with his husband and with a condition not less than 12 years of age then the confinement is up to 2 years with fine and both.

  1. When the spouse is between 12 to 15 years of age, there is confinement that is not under 7 years or life imprisonment or it will exceed 10 years of imprisonment with fine and both.
  2. In the case of isolation of judicial spouse who committed rape will be in confinement up to 2 years and with fine or both.
  3. The above 15 years of age will not be taken into consideration.

Local Violence

Marital rape was included in local Violence by the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence act in 2005. It gives the woman a golden opportunity to file a legal partition from her husband in the court based on marital rape. It is an absurd offence and women feel like there is a fear of getting disown from the society as well as her human rights are being violated during the holy place of marriage. Laws are being made to secure the setbacks of marital rape and it is unacceptable in the eyes of law.

Misuse of law

A woman will dishonestly charge their spouse for different kinds of abusive behavior and certain laws like Domestic Violence act, dowry prohibition act, and Section 498 (A) IPC falsely blame the spouse and took the wrong side of the prosecution. There is no immediate proof regarding the misuse in dowry and cruelty based cases. But the majority of women are a survivor of physical, sexual, or passionate abusive behavior. The main cause of misusing the law is a poor investigation where there is improper evidence is being collected and man bears all the punishment for not committing that offence.

But the judiciary is there to protect the spouse from false cases that are being filed in the courts and dismissed them with a fine or penalty.

There is an additionally abusive contention which overlooks how distraught woman misuse the laws regarding marital rape, they can easily bring justice to a false case by showing lack of resources, in need of legal aid and false domestic violence.


This privilege of self-Reliance in marital rape under Article 21 of the Indian constitution which doesn’t recollect such rights which came to existence for a proper arrangement on the life property and freedom. It relieves upon the conviction which is eagerly associated with the private choice and benefits. And it is also introduced that marital avoidance denies effectively a married woman from her qualification by intrudes her from the dynamic change.

India has a dream that marital rape should be fully criminalized in India because this condition gives an aftereffect to a woman and Indian legal system have to take some moreover steps for both legitimate and social change and there should be an amendment in the act like Domestic violence act because these act doesn’t directly talk against marital rape and this abusive behavior towards a woman has opened up in a wider way for establishing more cases. So, marital rape should be completely criminalized in India.


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