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When Rape Is Too “Personal” For Law- The Paradox Of Rape Laws In India

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By Kunal Arora:

Yes we talk about equal rights and respect in a relationship but by law we favour a man over women.”

Every now and then we have tried to bring change in the society by removing inequality, and uplift the status of women. It’s through the efforts of some courageous souls that we have reached so far, and erased numerous discrepancies in the political and legal system. By providing this positive environment to grow in we have made women stronger. From Indira Gandhi to Saina Nehwal, women have achieved new heights, showing the world what they are capable of and that no gender is superior to the other. Prevention of trafficking, dowry prohibition, National Commission for Women, all has added to provide a non-discriminating environment. But inspite all the efforts, from time to time dignity of Indian women still becomes a paradox, by law.

For Representational Purposes Only
For Representational Purposes Only

Since decades, we have been trying to restore equal rights in heterosexual relationships. And yet, on 18th Feb 2015 the Supreme Court of India rejected the plea of a woman, who had been sexually abused by her husband repeatedly. The honoured judges of the court commented, “You are stating a personal cause not a public cause”. Section 375 of Indian Penal Code puts down an exception clause as “sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape”. By law, a husband can sexually exploit the wife, and she cannot raise her voice against it. We are living in a country where a married man has the right to rape his wife, and the law doesn’t support her. Physical intimacy in a relationship is a matter of mutual concern and forcing someone against their wish is nothing but raping the partner.

The Status of World on Marital Rape

Shockingly only 52 countries consider marital rape as a criminal offence, including 18 states in Unites States, New Zealand, Sweden and others but no other country supports women on the issue. About two-third of Indian women in the age group of 15 to 49 are forced to provide sex, raped or beaten, in accordance to the UN Population Fund. Another report by United Nations states the number of marital rapes reported is very less due to social stigma, the fear of being disowned by the family and honour killing.

Countries, where the status and dignity of women are based on virginity, are facing more problem. Asian and African countries, which have social and religious stigma attached to it, follow the practice of discrimination based on the woman’s virginity. This includes India, Taliban-Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Iraq, Sudan and many more. There are no cases being filed against the husband as they consider sex as the need of a man, and the behaviour of the wife can force the husband to rape her.

A Paradoxical Statement

1, July 2015, No mediation in rape cases, a woman’s body is her temple, SC, India.”

The case involved an attempt to rape on a minor in Madhya Pradesh, India in 2008; the Supreme Court stated that no mediation will take place in such an instance.

Rightly said, a human body is a temple in itself, and no compromises can be made in the case of rape. No mediation shall be considered, in working out the case outside the court, and without the supervision of a higher law authority. However, there are plenty of cases where the court has asked to settle the matter by mediation, putting respect of women at stake, such as the rape case of a minor, where the Madras High Court allowed mediation, saying that, “In fact, even in Islam, Hinduism and Christianity, there are instances of solving the disputes in a non-belligerent manner. The result of it is very good because there is ‘no victor, no vanquished’.”

Supreme Court by rejecting mediation in rape cases, is respecting women, and yet looking at the disparity in cases of rape within and outside of marriage, is bewildering. In one view, the apex court talks about respecting women and, on the other hand, marital rape pleas are rejected.

If we call marriage as holy then creating the same status for those within the institution is mandatory, and laws need to be amended and upheld for the same. I believe that women’s contribution to the society has always been more than men. A woman sacrifices her personal desires to keep her family as the priority because of religion and culture, and we need to honour and respect that. Many laws need to be altered but before that the mindset of the society needs drastic improvement.


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  1. Irate pirate

    Are you saying that there is a 66%chance that our mother was raped by our Father? And where do you get the idea that the contribution of women is more than men? The reason there are no marital rape laws in India is because it is IMPOSSIBLE to medically prove rape in a marriage. If a woman is being sexually abused in a marriage, there are domestic violence laws that protect her. Where are the laws protecting men against domestic violence? Where are the laws that punish women for making false accusations ? First let’s protect our men. They protect our borders, get into manholes, run our factories , drive our trains, teach our children, protect our health etc etc. I am an Indian woman and I’m sick and tired of this blanket abuse of our fathers, husbands, brothers and friends. Enough already

    1. Kunal Arora

      The figures given out the US Population Fund tell what the reality is.
      Wife has been raped or not that has to be decided by the medical report and court, someone saying that its is impossible to prove is not the case here.
      The contribution of women has been more in the efforts they have put to build their own image, besides being not given much freedom to move out they have grown really well.

      It is true we need to have common laws for both genders, protection for both but saying “First protect our men” doesn’t seem to be a valid point.

      And we need to accept that the situation of women is really bad even after giving protection to them.

    2. Monistaf

      Yes, “we need to accept that the situation of women is really bad even after giving protection to them”. Sexual offenses in 2014 is 4.7% of the total cognizable crimes under the Indian Penal Code. So, yes, let us focus all our efforts and resources in protecting the demographic that is least effected by it, while ignoring the vast majority of the victims of violent crime.

    3. M

      ‘“First protect our men” doesn’t seem to be a valid point’ – Kunal Arora.
      Do you have a problem with ‘first’ or ‘protect our men’?

    4. Kunal Arora

      Re-read your own comment, it completely shows the ignorance to the women part and then your first will sound like first only.

  2. Monistaf

    Mr. Arora, in your quest to be “more human”, may be you should re-read IPC section 375 and “discover” that men cannot be victims of rape in India. We will never know how many of them suffer sexual assault and rape since it is not against the law and is not reported, but if we take the example of the USA, if you include prison rape, more men are raped in the USA than women. You should also be “shocked” that the feminists and the women’s organizations in India are against making any of these laws gender neutral. Also, marital rape, even though is not covered by section 375 is clearly covered under the domestic violence act of 2005, so it is against the law, as it should be. So, no need to be shocked!!

    1. Kunal Arora

      You are trying to support a weak point here. As mentioned, IPC section 375 has an exception clause which truly states what it holds as rape and what not.

      If it would have been completely covered in the other section then the plea being rejected would not have made sense.

    2. Monistaf

      Please check page 60 of the Domestic Violence act of 2005. ( One of the first provisions under the act is forced sexual intercourse. The plea would have been rejected under section 375 because there is no provision for marital rape. However, you clearly ignored my comment about male rape also not being in section 375 and the fact that men can also be traumatized by the crime but have no path to legal reconciliation or closure. So, I am guessing here that you will be happy to include marital rape in section 375 while excluding protection for entire male population of this country. This, is the equality that you and the rest of the feminists are fighting for. Section 375 not only excludes the entire male population of this country but also excludes women from being perpetrators of the crime, even against other women and girls. Have you checked how many civilized countries consider male rape a crime?

  3. rebel4gud

    Rape and forced sex are to be punished and wrong , may it be in married life or else where.
    But the question here is , how many of the complaints of such cases are legitimate.We are in a society wherein the complaints against men by women are going in favour of the women , without much effort in looking into the real truth behind the issue.As in the case of rape after marriage and such cases where the crime cannot be proved by the court , I feel the best solution is effective mediation and counselling .

  4. Maari

    Good Article showing paradoxes .But I guess changing the mind set of society takes more time than changing the law.

  5. Jigsaw

    Article reeks of misandry. In a country where 75% of rape cases are false, now we need a law against marital rape. LOL!

    Woman sentenced to 3 years Jail for a false rape case. Reason – Property dispute. Accused ended his life.

    Cops raid her home to find her husband, apparently accused of a crime, she CRIES rape by Cops! They plead innocence

    This article basically nails the trend. Tougher rape law leading to increase in false cases?

    Classic case of rape law misuse: False gangrape

    Journalist arrested in false gang rape case

    Delhi woman misuses rape law, held for extortion

    Men who face false rape charges – BLOG

    Girl faces 7 years Rigorous Imprisonment for false rape allegations

    Rape filed when husband discovered wife coming out of someone else’s house

    Punishment for falling in LOVE

    Consensual Sex of Four years turned Rape

    Sexual Adventure turned Rape

    Love, Sex and Dhokha…..all given the name of Rape

    Girl Pregnant, Property Dispute among neighbours, RAPE charge is the Solution

    Father and Daughter both retract from their statements of Rape, refuse to identify accused

    A false rape case by a MAID on an 82 year Old employer, Court issues guidelines to placement agencies–3257.html

    Got pregnanant with consent, but she was raped

    Settlement after Rape…or Rape charges for settlement

    She stayed with cousin with her own ‘sweet will’ but it was a rape for the girls father

    Court acquits man of Rape, wants curb on False cases

    Rape on a Road Side???

    Unable to pay debt, father coerces daughter to file a rape case. 13 years. Another accused woman dies during pendency of the case.

    Two brothers acquitted. If there would have been three, charges would have been on three, four, five…..

    Teacher-Student infatuation, baby born out of it, Rape case filed anonymously …acquitted

    Rape filed to force the boy into marriage

    Acquitted after 11 years of struggle

    Dispute over property, turned rape by a young empowered woman against an elderly senior citizen

    They raped but dropped her home. Then her father slapped her. Then she slept. Then police found her. OMG.

    No words….First elope with boyfriend then charge him with rape.

    Medical examination declares no rape, claim of sedation also false, still FIR registered

    Rape on pretext of Job, marriage and many other promises

    Girl agrees rape complaint was false as boyfriend turns husband

    Consensual sex turned rape, Judge says women should sleep before marriage at their own peril

    Raped continuously for a year by facebook friend

    Thrown out of Job, files rape case against 8 people

    Rape cases conviction low because of false complaints : Mumbai Commissioner of Police

    Don’t always believe rape victims evidence : Supreme Court of India


    False cases behind Delhi’s tag of RAPE CAPITAL: Judge, Delhi Court

    Woman arrested for extortion after filing 11 false rape cases

    90% of rape cases in Kishanganj False: SP

    74% percent cases consensual sex turned into rape: Pune Police

    Fake rape victims danger to society: Court

    Be Vigilant against false cases: HC tells trial court judges

    Boyfriend, his friends also in false rape trap….O Boyzzz so sorry for you!

    Consensual relationship, pregnancy, then Rape


    GO GOA and then GO crying rape

    Rape victims brother is the child’s biological father

    Women misuse rape law to force lovers to marry them: Delhi HC

    ‘Fake’ rape cases reported as Love Turns Sour: Ranchi Police

    When live-in turns sour, man becomes ‘rapist’

    1. Kunal Arora

      First of all check your figures and share the link from where you got to know about 75% cases being fake.

      You are trying to hit a point that rape laws getting stronger has posed trouble to innocent men.

      Checkout for other laws and you will find every single law being used in some way or the other.

      We definitely have to deal with both sides but in no way we can let the real criminal go free and hunting for more. That will be a bigger trouble for whole society.

      I not only pointed about the paradox in law but also stated a much needed change in mindset which is bigger than law.

      It would have been really better if other people have shared their views to put more light on the ways societal thinking can be altered but no one came up with that.

      Definitely every law will be broken by some but we need to make sure that those who really suffer get the justice, be it a rape outside home or inside by the life partner.

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