Allahabad HC's Recent Ruling Proves Marital Rape Must Be Criminalised

The High Court stated that until the petitions seeking the criminalisation of marital rape are still pending before the Supreme Court, there is no criminal penalty for marital rape.

Tanya Savkoor
New Update
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The Allahabad High Court dismissed the allegations of marital rape against a man, stating that it is not considered an offence if the wife is above 18 years old. While acquitting the husband of charges under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (Unnatural offences), the single bench comprising Justice Ram Manohar Narayan Mishra stated that that there is no provision like Section 377 IPC in the proposed Bhartiya Nyay Sanhita (which is likely to replace the Indian Penal Code), according to a report by Live Law


The Allahabad High Court made it clear that the case of criminalisation of marital rape is still pending in the Supreme Court. Thus, the High Court cannot assume a criminal penalty from the accused if the wife is a legal adult. However, the Court clarified that as per the judgment of the apex court in the Independent Thought vs. Union of India (2017) case, any sexual intercourse between a man and his wife aged between 15 to 18 years would amount to rape.

Marital Rape Not An Offence Yet, Says HC

The Allahabad High Court stated the example of an observation of the Madhya Pradesh High Court that there is no place for any ‘unnatural offence’ (as per Section 377 IPC) to take place in a marital relationship, according to a 2013 amendment to the definition of Section 375 IPC (Rape).

In her plea, the complainant allegedly stated that their marriage was an abusive relationship, and the husband allegedly subjected her to verbal and physical abuse and coercion, including acts of sodomy. She first filed an FIR under various sections of the IPC including rape and dowry in August 2013.

The FIR specifically claimed that the accused engaged in unnatural intercourse, resulting in harm to her private parts. She also alleged that she fled to her maternal home only two months into their marriage following the abuse, but the accused followed her there and abused her again. However, he denied having any relations with her since their separation.

After gathering proof, the court convicted the accused under sections related to cruelty by the husband or relatives of the husband (498-A) and voluntarily causing hurt (IPC 323) while acquitting him of charges under Section 377. 

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