Marital sexual abuse amounts to rape: Delhi Court

legal

A Delhi trial court has declared that marital sexual abuse can be investigated as a crime amounting to rape and ordered the police department to use sections accordingly. The court has also rejected the bail plea of the accused. The court has said that though the law is not very clear in treating marital sexual crimes, when it amounts to cruelty or rape, the victim should definitely get appropriate protection.

The observations were related to a case where a husband sodomised his pregnant wife in a drunk state. He was reported to be ill treating the wife all along. The police were reprimanded by the judge, Kamini Lau, and were told to use Section 377 which treats unnatural sexual behavior. Such crimes were treated so far under a lighter IPC 498 A which leads to max three years imprisonment.

“Legislatures are yet to take serious note of rampant marital sexual abuse which women suffer silently … but that does not mean that a battered wife who has been sexually abused and has invoked the legal system of our country is not entitled to any state assistance just as help is available to other victims of sexual abuse,” judge Lau said. “She is the responsibility of the state and is required to be taken care of just as any other victim of aggravated sexual assault and abuse and the state cannot abdicate its responsibility and she cannot be discriminated only because she happens to be the wife of the sexual aggressor,” the judge said while explaining her decision.

The court has also asked authorities to take proper measure of her financial, health well being.

Medaram Jathara

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