WION Web TeamDelhi, IndiaAug 30, 2017, 01.35 PM (IST)
The central government in its affidavit to the Delhi High Court on Monday stated that what “may appear to be marital rape” to a wife “may not appear so to others”. This statement came out on the grounds that this "may destabilise the institution of marriage apart from being an easy tool for harassing the husbands”.
The statement goes on to say that “as to what constitutes marital rape and what would constitute marital non-rape needs to be defined precisely before a view on its criminalisation is taken."
The affidavit also supports its concerns by highlighting the “rising misuse of Section 498A of IPC” that is commonly referred to as the dowry law. It puts emphasis on how this existing law is being used by women "for harassing their husbands" for their own benefit.
The affidavit comes in the light of several petitions that want marital rape to be legally recognised and made a punitive offence.
The issue has now taken an even ugly form with social media getting involved. Earlier on Monday after the affidavit came out, Swaraj Kaushal, Senior Advocate of Supreme Court of India, Governor of Mizoram and better known as Sushma Swaraj's husband tweeted saying: "There will be more husbands in the jail, than in the house" implying that this will be the case if marital rape is criminalised.
(His tweets are not open for public and those allowed to follow him can see his posts)
Section 375 of the IPC dealing with rape makes an exception for such instances within marriages and holds that “sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape”. No other statute or law recognises marital rape, and victims only have recourse to civil remedies provided under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
In its affidavit, the Centre also stated that “the question is what evidence the courts will rely upon in such circumstances as there can be no lasting evidence in case of sexual acts between a man and his own wife".
The Centre now talks about “moral and social awareness” to fight this.