While hearing petition for criminalizing marital rape filed by RIT Foundation with All India Democratic Women’s Association and a victim of marital rape, Hon’ble Delhi High Court observed that marriage ipso facto does not conclude that a woman will always be consenting for physical relations with her husband. The hearing of the petition is yet not over, but a bench comprising of Hon’ble Acting Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar came up with certain de rigueur observations considering the contemporary attempt to strengthen women in a patriarchal society.

The counter arguments posed by the NGO named Men Welfare Trust that women are already protected by various pro-women legislations like Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, was refused by the Hon’ble court and the bench opined as follows:

“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 deliberations also took the route of discussing the intricacies of marital rape. It was observed that it is not necessary that there shall be injury to prove rape; the contemporary definition of rape has changed and has to take into certain peculiar situations in marriage like the husband refusing to maintain the wife and kids until the wife indulges in physical relation with the husband. Exception created under section 375 of the Indian Penal Code is also dealt with in the present matter.

The last date hearing concluded with such remarks and observations and 8th August is being set as the next date. Final order of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court is awaited with high expectations.


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