No takers for law on marital rape

New Delhi: The Supreme Court turned down on July 1 advocate Anuja Kapur''s plea for registration of FIR on the marital rape, asking her to better plead before Delhi High Court. She moved the High Court promptly but her petition was dismissed summarily on Tuesday.

In a move that has been branded "anti-women" by many on social media, Delhi High Court turned down her plea to give directions to the Centre to make marital rape ground for divorce.

Her plea was that the registration of FIRs in marital rape was crucial to protect the married woman''s fundamental right to live with self-respect.

Presently, marital rape is not a ground for divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the Muslim Personal Law Application Act, 1937, or the Special Marriage Act, 1954.

A limited provision under Section 376B of he Indian Penal Code (IPC) bars the husband from a sexual intercourse with his wife during the separation.

Petitioner advocate Kapur had pleaded that this section be slightly modified to bar "the sexual intercourse by husband upon his wife without her consent."

The demand to criminalise marital rape has gained strength over the past few years but it is very clear that neither the judiciary nor the Centre is interested in providing protection to women from sexual assault within marriages.

Currently, Section 375 of the IPC “sanctions sexual intercourse, even if forced, between a married couple, if the wife is over 15 years of age."

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