CHENNAI: Eliciting myriad reactions and opinions, the issue of marital rape has has legal brains flummoxed.
However, though the case is pending in Supreme court, lawyers at the Madras High Court welcome Justice Rajiv Shakdher’s verdict, which strikes down Exception 2 to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code.
According to Thanga Vadhana, Justice Shakdher’s verdict fell on the right interpretation of the law.
“Rape is akin to murder. A married woman is not the property of her husband, neither is she a subordinate of a man. But they’re treated like slaves after marriage especially in the remote areas of the country. Their lives are ruined in the name of caste and culture,” she laments.
Vadhana pointed out that if the Exception 2 had not been struck down, it could have been used as a tool by married men to rape their spouses and get away with it.
“It’s a curse that a reasonable number of rape suspects get away with violence due to lack of proper investigation. And, in court of law, often convicted rapists receive lesser punishments than murderers. In this context, it’s laudable that Justice Shakdher has struck down the exception clause in marital rape,” the lawyer told DT Next.
Advocate N Lalitha also welcomed Justice Shakdher’s verdict saying that forcing spouses into having sexual relations is against Article 21 of the constitution.
“Article 21 ensures personal right and right to liberty. When a woman does not want to have sex with her husband, the latter cannot force her. Women are not just material or property of a man. One cannot claim sex in marriage as a conjugal right all the time, especially, when the woman did not grant consent,” she stated.