General Studies Paper 2 (Social Justice)
Question:- 85. While bringing out the ethical issues involved in marital rape, highlight the arguments why marital rape should be criminalised in India. Answer in 250 words.
Oct 07, 2022


National Health and Family Survey (NFHS-4) for the year 2015-16 stated that 5.6% women have been reported as victims under the category of being physically forced to have sexual intercourse with husband even when she did not want to. This highlights the issue of equality, freedom and justice in marriage.



Marital rape cannot only be seen in the legal context but needs to seen in the context of wider ethical perspective
1.Individual autonomy and freedom- Women should have the right to decide when , how they want to engage in sexual union. The will cannot be enforced by husband.

2.Empowerment-How the women are to empowered if they are to live with one is incurring sexual assault

3.Misuse- What about the rights of men if they are wrongly accused of marital rape?

4.Verification- How to establish an evidence in case of marital rape? Interference- Marriage is a sacred institution with religious rites and
rituals. Isn’t it an act of interference by court if it is to be criminalised?

5.Modernity vs Tradition- The institution of marriage should work as per traditional culture or in spirit of constitutional morality.

6.Stereotype- Wouldn’t the society now questioning the “falsity” of her rape case, accuse her of again filing a false case of domestic violence?



The recent split verdict in Delhi High court and the recognition of marital rape in MTP Act highlights the need to criminalise marital rape:

1.Ensuring Security of Women: it will ensure that women remain safer from abusive spouses and they can receive the help needed to recover from marital rape and can save themselves from domestic violence and sexual abuse.
2.Marriage is not a license: A marriage should not be viewed as a license for a husband to forcibly rape his wife with impunity. Further, a married woman has the same right to control her own body as does an unmarried woman.
3.Bodily Integrity is intrinsic to Article 21: A woman is entitled to refuse sexual relations with her husband as the right to bodily integrity and privacy is an intrinsic part of Article 21 of the Constitution. Supreme Court has included sanctity of women, and freedom to make choices related to sexual activity under the ambit ofArticle 21.