Marriage: no more an escape for a Rapist:
Considering the fact that there are 23 million child brides in India the Supreme court held the exception in section 375 of Indian penal code unconstitutional and arbitrary and considered forced intercourse with a minor girl without her consent with in a marriage the rape.
Till day of this judgement this exception in Indian law allowed the men to have sex with his wife without her consent if she was below 18, neglecting the right of her on her body. This if considered crime could only be brought before other domestic laws on violence or assault but not under rape law.
From the centuries domestic violence has been a social mechanism for subjecting the women to subordination. This has legitimized the violence against women in our society to a significant extent. Most of the women in particular rural India have started believing that it could be a right of men to treat them as their adjunct without any individual identity but as a mother or a wife.
Government of India didn’t support arguments against this exception but considered marriage a sacred institution & apprehended that striking this exception in law down could distablise the marriage institution. So there is no concept as of a marital rape in Indian context. How we would define what is marital rape or non-marital rape considering the number of false complaints that have been filled by women under dowry law?
Government argued that if any of the two parties has faced physical abuse then it may be considered sexual assault and justice could be served to them by already available laws.
But what court considered was that no relation even marriage could supplement irrevocable consent of sexual activity. Women having no right on her body drags this country back to times when women were merely considered like a husband’s property. Any girl below 18 couldn’t be deprived of her right on her body which is associated with her dignity intrinsically.
Declaring it unconstitutional is as valid as what government has apprehended about the consequences. But we have to remember that cost of every change has had to be paid.
Awareness and proceeding with cautions can bring stability after some time if a sudden change is imposed for the betterment of society. This is nothing but an emancipation of women belonging to a particular section of society who have been married at tender age unlawfully perhaps without their consent.