Delhi High Court Demands Centre To Clarify Stand On Marital Rape Criminalisation

Delhi High Court has asked the Centre to clarify its stand on the criminalisation of marital rape as it will continue to hold hearings on January 18.

Bhavya Saini
Jan 17, 2022 16:36 IST
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Delhi High Court has demanded that the Centre must clarify its stand on the issue of marital rape criminalisation as it needs to be addressed with a clear answer. The Centre had asked the court for some time to consult about the matter to reach a constructive approach. The court has been hearing PILs to strike down the exception of marital rape under the Indian rape law.

Justice Rajiv Shakdher has asked the Centre to clarify its stand on Marital Rape Criminalisation as it had demanded for some time for consultation about the matter to reach a constructive approach. The constitutionality of the exception of marital rape has been challenged by many NGOs including RIT Foundation, All India Democratic Women’s Association, as well as individuals as it discriminates against married women who have been sexually abused by their husbands.

The Centre wanted to approach this matter with proper discussions and consultations so that it does not present a “less discussed and consulted stand” in front of the bench. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta mentioned, “We have to formulate our stand and place our considered stand for your lordship and considering that this a 2015 matter if your lordship can grant us a reasonable time. This might need a little consultation etc.”

Upon this Justice Shakdher said that the court does not mind consultations but the Centre needs to establish which way they are going about the marital rape criminalisation, “I don’t mind that (consultation) but they have to take a decision which way they are going… there are some matters, for whatever reasons, I think the court ultimately decides one way or the other and that’s how it gets resolved. You take your time,” he said.


The bench, including Justice C Hari Shankar has been listening to other lawyers appearing before the court regarding this case in the meantime. The Centre told the High Court on January 13 that it is aiming for a constructive approach regarding the striking down of marital rape exception from the Indian Penal Code as it has sought suggestions for amendments in the criminal law, including Section 375 of the IPC.

Senior advocate Rajshekhar Rao, acting as the amicus curie has argued that, “a married woman cannot be denied the right to prosecute her husband if she believed that she was raped and in case of denial of a conjugal relationship,” as reported by The Print.

The amicus curie has argued that the exception of marital rape violates Articles 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. The Centre, in the its affidavit, has mentioned its concern about the harassments of husbands with the criminalisation of marital rape. Earlier, Delhi Government also had told the High Court that marital rape has already been included as a “crime of cruelty” under the IPC. The court will continue its hearing of the case on January 18.

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