Marital Rape In India

Marital rape in india
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Life is not easy for women in accordance with men especially in India in comparison to other countries. India is a male dominating society where women have to work hard for their self-respect. As we talk about our tradition, customs marriage is one of the sanctified rituals which is performed by women and men for their lifetime.

As sexual offences are the most crucial crime against women as they have to face physically and mentally harm. As we will examine different aspects of sexual offences with women related to health, education etc. and also different practises which is implemented to safeguard women from sexual offences.

We people living in India and living in the 21st century but still facing these types of sexual crimes against women in our nation.

Marital rape is the act of sexual intercourse with one spouse without the spouse’s consent as it is considered domestic violence and sexual abuse. Marital rape is often a chronic form of violence for the victim of abusive relations.

Keywords: – marital rape, domestic violence, women rights, spousal abuse.


In our day to day life as we are growing up we have seen our traditions, customs and rituals. Marriage is a pure tradition and one of the customs where rituals are performed usually between a man and a woman, regulated by – law’s, rules that prescribed the rights and duties of a partner and accords the status to their offspring. The main legal function of marriage is to ensure the rights and define the relationship of children within a community but sometimes it may turn into sexual abuse and offences and domestic violence. one such domestic violence includes Marital rape. Marital rape is the act of forcing your spouse into having sex without any proper consent. According to NCRB, crime in India as a 2019 report, about 70% of women in India are becoming victims of this marital rape.

Today, marital rape has been in more than 100 countries but India is one of the only 36 countries where marital rape is still not criminalised. A woman is getting raped almost every day inside her own home by her own husband and this feels so scary. one of the woman who can’t raise their voice against the cruelty she is facing because of her own guilty man is her own husband. As the taboo mind of our society in India, it is legal to rape a woman as long as you are married to her. We live in 2021, and this is the level of taboo mind in our country. Undoubtedly, not making marital rape criminal in India is a message to the entire woman community of India that their consent to any sexual activity is done with them is a proper right of her husband. However, in early times marital exemption was that is husband was allowed to do marital rape without any legal consequences. [1]


Even after 72 years of independence, the women in our country are still not safe and independent and continue to live under the realm of darkness and fear. It is indeed a taboo mind which people have in India. If we talk about rape and sexual harassment, under normal circumstances a person would refer to any such grievous hurt to that woman. A man thinks having a marriage with her gives all the right to have a sexual relationship with a woman but it is about the taboo mind which people have in our country. The word “Rape” means “Rape” and indeed, that is the end of the sentence. No, the age or marital status can decide to have a sexual relationship without any proper consent.

It violates the right to live with the dignity of a woman. Further, article 14 of the Indian constitution states that the state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or equal protection of the law within the territory of India by protecting a person from discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, religion, caste, place, birth etc. The Indian law prohibits a girl under the age of 18 from marrying to safeguard girls from violence in India. The Indian penal code considers that rape is the case if the woman is under 15 years of age and not a man’s wife even if she consents. However, the lawmakers have failed to realize that marital rape rips the sanctity of marriage and leads to breach of trust, looking over the fundamental principles of woman bodily and integrity. It is an irony in itself that while cruelty is accepted for the reason of divorce, torture, or marital rape inside the marriage or not.

Even though the question of marital rape of adult women has been left open and various legal provisions are affecting female children aged between 15 to 18 years.[2]

Provisions protecting girls between 15 to 18 years:-

  • Prohibition of child marriage :

This act provides the solemnization of child marriage and interconnected matters. According to section 3 of this provision, it states that child marriage is voidable at the option of contracting the party of being a child to stop domestic violence against women.

Thus, under this child marriage itself is recognised as an offence. 

  • Protection of children from sexual offences :

This Act recognises sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children as “grievous hurt” and defines a child as any person below the age of 18 years. Section 3 and 6 establishes that if a husband of a girl child commits penetrative sexual assault on his wife, he would be penalised for a heinous crime and punishable with rigo[1]rous imprisonment of not less than 10 years, extendable to a life term.

Under this Act, a girl under the age of 18 years is a child, and hence, does not have the capacity physical, mental or emotional to make an informed decision about engaging in sexual relations.

  • Juvenile Justice Act

This Act has come into force to save Juvenile also defines a child as a person who has not completed 18 years of age and provides for, well-being whether mental or physical, including protection of physical and sexual abuse”.

  • Protection of Women from domestic violence:-

This section provides protection of women from domestic violence as Section 3 of the Act protects a girl child from any act of her husband that may harm or injure or endanger her health, safety, or husband.

Marital Rape: Against Legal & Constitutional Rights

  1. The Doctrine of Coverture: – under this Doctrine, a woman has all the rights and obligations that were subsumed by her husband after their marriage. Legally, a husband and a wife become one person.
  • At the time when IPC was drafted in the 1860s, a married woman was not considered an independent legal entity rather than she was considered as his husband’s personal property.

Violative of Article 14:

 Article 14 of the Indian constitution states that the state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or equal protection of the law within the territory of India by protecting a person from discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, religion, caste, place, birth etc.

Violate of Article 21:

According to Article 21, there is a right to live a free, full and dignified life as no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the provision established by law

In the State of Karnataka vs. krishnappa, the Supreme Court noted the gravity of sexual violence and observed that “sexual violence with a woman is part of violation of the human right act, and is an unlawful intrusion to right of privacy and personal liberty of a female. Also, the Supreme Court noted the serious nature of the offence, and how severely impugned the rights of the victim.

Hence, the abuse of woman and girls is the most pervasive and unaddressed human right violation on earth. 



 At last, we reached to conclusion points where I have an overview of this article. As we have seen in our growing ages and saw marriage is pure tradition but it does not give any man the right to have sexual intercourse with her woman without her full consent as a woman have all the rights that she can decide that with whom she want a sexual relationship. Marital rape is not fully criminalised in India but it is definitely a heinous crime that is done almost every day against a woman in our own society. It is fact that women who are raped by their husbands are more prone to multiple assaults and often suffer from long term mentally and physically problems. As the consequences of marital rape are very high in India and other countries, there is an urgent need for the criminalisation of the offence of marital rape but on the brighter side enactment of specific legislation against domestic violence is a good initiative to criminalizing marital rape.


  1. Anirudh Pratap Singh December 20,2020/

  2. Anusha Agrawal, November 2,2020/

  3. 22 december,2020/

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