Bengaluru: In a landmark ruling, the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday said marriage is no licence to “unleash a brutal beast” as it allowed framing of rape charges against a husband accused of forcing his wife to be a “sex slave”.
“The institution of marriage does not confer, cannot confer, and in my considered view, should not be construed to confer, any special male privilege or a licence for unleashing of a brutal beast. If it is punishable to a man, it should be punishable to a man albeit, the man being a husband,” the High Court order said.
“A brutal act of sexual assault on the wife, against her consent, albeit by the husband, cannot but be termed to be a rape. Such sexual assault by a husband on his wife will have grave consequences on the mental sheet of the wife, it has both psychological and physiological impact on her,” the order stated.
“Such acts of husbands scar the soul of the wives. It is, therefore, imperative for the lawmakers to now ‘hear the voices of silence’,” it added.
The High Court observed that the “age-old thought and tradition that husbands are the rulers of their wives, their body, mind and soul should be effaced”.
Marital rape is not a criminal offence in India despite years of campaigning.
The Karnataka High Court in its order clarified that it is not commenting on whether marital rape should be recognised as an offence but that about a legislature to consider it.
“This court is concerned only with the charge of rape being framed upon the husband alleging rape on his wife,” the court stated.
The court made the observation while hearing a case involving a woman who accused her husband of treating her like a sex slave right from the start of their marriage.
Describing her husband as “inhuman”, she alleged that she had been forced to have unnatural sex, even in front of her daughter, by him.
The High Court said that no man, on account of being a husband, should be exempted from rape charges as it meant inequality in law and a violation of the constitution.
“Woman and man being equal under the constitution cannot be made unequal by any exception to Section 375 (rape) of the IPC (Indian Penal Code). It is for the law makers to ponder over existence of such inequalities in law,” the High Court said.
India Blooms News Service