RIT Foundation and the All India Democratic Women’s Association said the Centre’s stand on marital rape breaches women’s right of access to justice. The two NGOs have petitioned the Delhi High Court to criminalise marital rape.
In a hearing earlier this week, lawyer Karuna Nundy said criminalization of marital rape corresponds with constitutional and human rights
The Delhi HC bench hearing the plea comprises acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar.
According to the Centre, criminalizing marital rape will ‘destabilize the institution of marriage’.
Nundy said that non-criminalization of marital rape leads to violation of Article 14 (right to equality) and Article 21 (right to life). It also breaches Article 19(1)(a) (right to freedom of speech and expression) and Article 15 (right to no discrimination on the ground of gender) of the Indian Penal Code, LiveMint reported.
“…sexual autonomy is a part of right to privacy as per the nine-judge bench judgement on privacy,” Nundy submitted.
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“Burden is on the Centre to justify that the discrimination against married women has a determinate object, is proportional and adequate,” the lawyer said.
Rape is non-consensual sexual intercourse between a man and a woman comes under Section 375 of the Constitution. But it does not cover non-consensual sexual intercourse between a husband and a wife.
The Centre is now going to put its arguments supporting non-criminalisation of marital rape in a week.
Recently, Supreme Court had criminalized sex with wife below the age of 18 years. “If a man has sexual intercourse with a wife who is below 18 years, it is an offence. The minor wife can complain against the husband within one year,” said the court in a landmark decision, NDTV reported.