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  • 04 March, 2021

  • 5 Min Read

Marital rape-Rape and Marriage

Marital rape-Rape and Marriage


  • Requirements in a relationship: A relationship between two individuals, including marriage, is built around love, respect, trust and consent.
  • Within that civilised framework, a violent and exploitative act like rape has no place.

Recent SC stance on rape and marriage

  • Seen in that context, the Supreme Court’s latest query to a Maharashtra government employee asking whether he would marry a girl he was accused of raping repeatedly while she was a minor is insensitive to the core.
  • By offering marriage as a solution to a rape victim, the judiciary failed to protect the rights of a girl.
  • Instead of meting out harsh punishment, the Court asked the lawyer representing the accused to find out whether his client would be willing to marry the victim or risk going to jail.

Can lead to an act of misogyny

  • Equal rights activists have always worked hard against misogyny, patriarchal mindsets and other failings such as blaming the victim for rape.
  • This arduous battle for equality becomes even more difficult when people in high offices make offensive remarks.

Supreme court on marital rape

  • In another case, the Bench stayed the arrest of a man accused of rape after falsely promising marriage. The victim said she was promised marriage and was “brutally and sexually abused”.
    • The CJI asked the girl’s lawyer: “When two people are living as husband and wife, however brutal the husband is, can you call sexual intercourse between them ‘rape’?”
    • In both cases, these crimes attract severe penalties under the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013.

Justice J.S. Verma Committee on marital rape

    • On marital rape, though the recommendation was not included in the Act, the Justice J.S. Verma Committee was clear the law ought to specify that a marital or another relationship between the perpetrator and victim cannot be a defence against sexual violation.

C.R. vs U.K case

    • Citing the judgment of the European Commission of Human Rights in C.R. vs U.K., it endorsed the conclusion that “a rapist remains a rapist regardless of his relationship with the victim”.

Shimbhu & Anr vs State of Haryana (2013)

    • In Shimbhu & Anr vs State of Haryana (2013), the Supreme Court said the offer of a rapist to marry the victim cannot be used to reduce the sentence prescribed by law.


    • The law should deliver justice, not blatantly tilt the scales against women’s rights.

Source: TH

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