Central Government Employees News, 7th Pay Commission, MACP, LTC, CGHS, Railways, Bank News, CPSE, NPS, Pension, DOPT and More

Don’t Criminalise Marital Rape, May Disturb Institution of Marriage: Govt (Hindi Version Included)

Don’t Criminalise Marital Rape, May Disturb Institution of Marriage: Govt

Stating that what “may appear to be marital rape” to a wife “may not appear so to others”, the central government took a stand against criminalising marital rape, in its affidavit to the Delhi High Court on Monday, on the ground that it “may destabilise the institution of marriage apart from being an easy tool for harassing the husbands”. “As to what constitutes marital rape and what would constitute marital non-rape needs to be defined precisely before a view on its criminalisation is taken,” states the Centre’s affidavit.

It goes on to cite the “rising misuse of Section 498A of IPC”, commonly known as the dowry law, to demonstrate how laws dealing with violence against women can be misused “for harassing the husbands”.

The central government was responding to a bunch of petitions which wanted marital rape to be legally recognised and made a punitive offence.

Section 375 of the IPC dealing with rape makes an exception for such instances within marriages and holds that “sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape”. No other statute or law recognises marital rape, and victims only have recourse to civil remedies provided under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

The Centre’s affidavit holds that states should implead in the matter, since criminal law is on the concurrent list and implemented by states — and given the vast diversity in cultures across states. “The fact that other countries, mostly western, have criminalised marital rape does not necessarily mean India should also follow them blindly. This country has its own unique problems due to various factors like literacy, lack of financial empowerment of the majority of females, mindset of the society, vast diversity, poverty, etc., and these should be considered carefully before criminalising marital rape,” it states.

The Justice Verma committee, formed in the wake of the 2012 Delhi gangrape, had recommended removing the exception made for marital rape in the law. Similarly, the report ‘Status of Women in India’, by the high-level Pam Rajput committee of the Ministry of Woman and Child Development, criticised the legislature for its failure to criminalise or even recognise marital rape in the Criminal Laws (Amendment) Act 2013 enacted following the Justice Verma committee report.

The Centre, in its submission to the Delhi High Court, stated that the judgment as to whether a sexual act is a marital rape or not will rest entirely with the wife. “The question is what evidence the courts will rely upon in such circumstances as there can be no lasting evidence in case of sexual acts between a man and his own wife,” it states.
The submission adds that the Law Commission on Review of Rape Laws and the Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs have examined the issue but not recommended the criminalisation of marital rape.

The Centre has instead advocated the need for “moral and social awareness” to stop such an act. Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, who is appearing in the case for one of the petitioners (a marital rape victim), pointed out that till date, 51 countries have criminalised marital rape, beginning with Poland in 1932. “By the seventies, much of the developed world had criminalised it. The United States did it between 1970 and 1993, South Africa in 1993, even Nepal criminalised it in 2006,” he said.

He added that the United Kingdom, whose common law was followed by India, made marital rape a criminal offence in 1991. “Other countries such as Canada and Ireland, which follow the common law, have all over the years made the act an offence,” he said.

The petitions cite several studies to show the prevalence of the issue in India. A 1999 study, ‘Domestic Violence in Northern India’, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, looked at the nature of wife abuse by 6,700 married men from five districts of northern India. It found that 18-40 per cent of the men in each district had non-consensual sex with their wives, and 4-9 per cent physically forced their wives to have sex.

A more recent study in 2014, ‘Reporting and incidence of violence against women in India’, uses data from the National Crime Records Bureau and the National Family Health Surveys to show the extent of under-reporting in such cases. It finds that only about 0.6 per cent, or one in 167 incidents of sexual violence by husbands, are reported.

Hindi Version

केंद्र सरकार ने दिल्ली हाईकोर्ट से कहा कि वैवाहिक बलात्कार को दंडनीय अपराध नहीं माना जा सकता. क्योंकि ऐसा करना विवाह की संस्था के लिए खतरनाक साबित होगा. यह पतियों को प्रताड़ित करने का जरिया बन सकता है. वकील मोनिका अरोड़ा ने मैरिटल रेप को अपराध करार देने की मांग के लिए हलफनामा दायर किया था.

इसके जवाब में केंद्र ने कहा कि सुप्रीम कोर्ट और आईपीसी की धारा 498ए के तहत विवाहित महिला को उसके पति और ससुराल वालों द्वारा प्रताड़ित करने के बढ़ते दुरूपयोग पर टिप्पणी कर चुका है.

केंद्र ने कहा, भारत में वैवाहिक बलात्कार का अपराधीकरण इसलिए नहीं किया जा सकता क्योंकि भारत में अलग तरह की परेशानियां है. जिसमें साक्षरता, बड़ी तादाद में महिलाओं के वित्तीय सशक्तीकरण की कमी, समाज की मानसिकता और गरीबी जैसी विभिन्न समस्याएं शामिल हैं. सरकार ने ये भी कहा है कि भारत इस मामले में आंख मूंद कर ‘पश्चिमी राष्ट्रों को फॉलो न करें’

सरकार आईपीसी की धारा 375 दुष्कर्म को असंवैधानिक घोषित करने के लिए विभिन्न याचिकाओं की मांग पर जवाब दे रही थी. केंद्र सरकार ने कहा, अगर पति-पत्नी के यौन संबंधों को वैवाहिक दुष्कर्म की तरह माना जाने लगेगा तो वैवाहिक दुष्कर्म का फैसला पत्नी के बयान पर निर्भर होगा. ऐसी परिस्थिति में अदालत किन सबूतों को आधार बनाएगी, क्योंकि पति और पत्नी के बीच यौन संबंध का कोई अंतिम सबूत नहीं हो सकता. केंद्र सरकार ने दिल्ली उच्च न्यायालय से कहा कि ‘वैवाहिक दुष्कर्म’ को अपराध घोषित करने से विवाह संस्था ढह सकती है.

केंद्र सरकार ने कहा कि किसी भी कानून में वैवाहिक दुष्कर्म को परिभाषित नहीं किया गया है. दुष्कर्म भारतीय दंड संहिता (आईपीसी) की धारा 375 में परिभाषित है. वैवाहिक दुष्कर्म को परिभाषित करना समाज में वृहत सहमति की मांग करता है.

एक वरिष्ठ अधिवक्ता ने दलील दी कि विवाह को ऐसे नहीं देखा जा सकता कि यह पतियों को जबरन संबंध बनाने का अधिकार देता है. एक विवाहित महिला को अविवाहित महिला की तरह ही अपने शरीर पर पूरे नियंत्रण का समान अधिकार है. मामले की सुनवाई आज 30 अगस्त को भी जारी रहेगी.