While hearing a plea on marital rape, Delhi High Court said that marriage does not mean that a woman is always consenting for physical relations with her husband.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and C Hari Shankar said that in a relationship like marriage, both man and woman have a right to say ‘no’ to physical relations.

“Marriage does not mean that the woman is all time ready, willing and consenting (for establishing physical relations). The man will have to prove that she was a consenting party,” the bench observed

With this observation, the court disagreed with the NGO, Men Welfare Trust, which was opposing the plea to make marital rape an offence.

“It is incorrect to say that (physical) force is necessary for rape. It is not necessary to look for injuries in a rape. Today, the definition of rape is completely different,” the court added, reported Indian Express.

NGO’s representatives — Amit Lakhani and Ritwik Bisaria — argued that a wife already has protection from sexual violence in a marriage under the available laws, such as Prevention of Women from Domestic Violence Act. As a result, the court said, if it was already covered under other laws, why should there be an exception in Section 375 of the IPC, which says intercourse or a sexual act by a man with his wife is not rape.

“Force is not a pre-condition of rape. If a man puts his wife under financial constraint and says he will not give her money for household and kids’ expenses, unless she indulges in sex with him and she has to do it under this threat. Later, she filed a rape case against the husband, what will happen,” the court said, TOI reported.

The Centre, however, has opposed the petitioners, saying that marital rape cannot be made an offence as it may destroy the institution of marriage. Additionally, it may lead to unnecessary harassment of husbands. The next hearing in the plea is scheduled for August 8.

Read: Marital Rape: A Grave Offence That’s Not Criminalised In India

Nimisha Is An Intern With SheThePeople.TV

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