Debate: Should Marriage Stop Being a Contract That Legalises Rape?

Debating the idea of consent in the year 2017. Because not everyone gets it.

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2 min read

Some things need to be said time and again so we’ll just say them up front.

1. It’s 2017.
2. Sex without consent is rape.
3. But sex without consent is NOT rape, if the man and woman are married to each other. Yes, that’s what the law says.

Whoever...commits rape shall be punished with imprisonment...and shall also be liable to fine unless the woman raped is his own wife.
Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code
Debating the idea of consent in the year 2017. Because not everyone gets it.

So a married woman cannot be raped by her husband according to Indian laws. If you thought the government would challenge it, think again.

What may appear to be marital rape to an individual wife, may not appear so to others.
Government of India to the Delhi High Court

So why did the government decide to come out and speak its mind on the matter of marital rape?

It’s because the Delhi High Court is currently hearing a petition challenging the Indian Penal Code’s exemption of a husband-wife relationship from the purview of rape.

It is in this context that The Quint hosted a debate on whether it is finally time for India to criminalise marital rape. Author Madhu Kishwar and lawyers Aishwarya Bhati and Reena Singh argued against the move, while young lawyers Soutik Banerjee and Neerja Gurnani were in favour of criminalisation.

Listen in to the entire debate and tell us what you think in the comments below.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)


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