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Sexual intercourse between man and wife is not rape even if by force or against her wish: Chhattisgarh HC

Justice NK Chandravanshi in the case Dilip Pandey and ors v. State of Chhattisgarh noted that Exception 2 to Section 375 (which defines the offence of “rape”) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) lays down that “Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.”

Socio Legal Corp

By- Arshita Anand.

Justice NK Chandravanshi in the case Dilip Pandey and ors v. State of Chhattisgarh noted that Exception 2 to Section 375 (which defines the offence of “rape”) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) lays down that “Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.” 

Given that marital rape is not recognised as an offence in Indian law, the Chhattisgarh HC recently discharged a man from facing trial for rape on a complaint by his wife. In this case, the woman(complainant) has alleged that the husband inserted fingers and radish in her vagina. She protested against the same but in vain. She also alleged that he and her in-laws started harassing her for dowry and committed physical violence with her.

Although the man has been discharged of the offence of marital rape. “Hence, he is entitled to be discharged from the charge under Section 376 of the I.P.C”, the Court said. However, charges framed in the case under Sections 498A (relating to cruelty to women) against the husband and his family members and 377 (unnatural offences, carnal intercourse against the “order of nature”) were sustained.

Meanwhile Kerala HC in its judgment on August 7 announced that marital rape can be a ground to claim divorce. The High Court in its strongly-worded judgment highlighted that a man treating his wife’s body as something owned by him and committing sexual acts against her will is nothing but ‘marital rape’.

Partly allowing the revision petition, the Court discharged the husband under sec. 376 of IPC and upheld the charges under sec. 377, 498A and 34 of IPC.

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