#Law and Her

What You Should Know About Karnataka High Court Marital Rape Judgment

karnataka high court marital rape judgment
Karnataka HC gave a judgment on marital rape stating that a sexual act without a women’s consent even by a husband, is rape.

Acknowledging the patriarchy that has prevailed since the beginning of time, the court stated “The age-old thought and tradition that the husbands are the rulers of their wives, their body, mind, and soul should be effaced. It is only on this archaic, regressive, and preconceived notion, the cases of this kind are mushrooming in the nation.”

Karnataka HC recognised the brutality of marital rape and stated that marriage cannot be used as a license for male privilege. Karnataka HC has Time and again broken the norms and given out some ground-breaking rulings.

Karnataka High Court Marital Rape Judgment:

  • The Karnataka high court ruling comes in response to a petition filed by a man seeking to drop charges of rape, filed by his wife against him, pending under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code.
  • The Delhi high court, in February, had urged the Centre to decide on the issue of criminalizing marital rape.
  • The Centre has then urged the court to defer hearing on the petitions, calculating the consequences of criminalizing marital rape, and asked for time to have a consultative process including the state governments.
  • Karnataka HC has made its stand clear on the issue of criminalising marital rape, by dismissing the petition to drop rape charges of a man, filed against him by his wife.
  • The ruling came from a single-judge bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna, who refused to interfere with the proceedings against a man, initiated by his wife on charges of rape.

Suggested Reading: Centre Gets Two Weeks Time To Clear It’s Stand On Criminalisation Of Marital Rape

  • The petitioner has been charged with rape and cruelty, under the POCSO Act for alleged sexual acts against his daughter.
  • Dismissing the petition, the court stated, “If a man, a husband, a man he is, can be exempted from the allegation of commission of ingredients of Section 375 of the IPC (rape), inequality percolates into such provision of law.”
  • Justice also made observations on how sexual assault by a husband on his wife has grave consequences on her mental state; stating that such acts of husbands scar the soul of the wives, therefore, it is important for the lawmakers to now “hear the voices of silence”.
  • The ruling also stated that all human beings under the Constitution are to be treated equally, be it a man, be a woman, and others. Any thought of inequality, in any provision of law, would fail the test of Article 14 of the Constitution.
  • Karnataka HC has made it clear that it stands to criminalise marital rape, with this ruling and clarified that marriage cannot be treated as a license to ‘unleash a brutal beast.’