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Allahabad Highcourt : Marital Rape is not an ‘Offence’ if She is Above 18

The Allahabad High Court on Friday observed that marital rape cannot be considered an ‘offence’ under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) if the wife is aged 18 years or above.

The bench of Justice Ram Manohar Narayan Mishra was acquitting a husband of the section 377 IPC charges for allegedly committing an “unnatural offence” against his wife, reported Live Law.


The bench also noted that in the proposed Bhartiya Nyay Sanhita, which would likely replace the IPC, has no provision like section 377 IPC.

The HC further noted that petitions seeking to criminalise marital rape are still pending before the Supreme Court. However, it clarified that the SC judgement in the Independent Thought vs. Union of India (2017) says any sexual intercourse between a husband and his wife aged between 15 to 18 years would be between 15 to 18 years would be considered rape.

Highlighting a previous observation of the Madhya Pradesh HC, the bench said there is no scope for offence of section 377 IPC to take place in a marital relationship.

The court was hearing the 2013 case of a wife against her husband under sections 498-A, 323, 504, 377 of IPC, and section ¾ of the Dowry Prohibition Act.

The complainant said her husband subjected her to verbal abuse, physical violence, and coercion, including acts of sodomy.

She specifically accused him of unnatural intercourse, which allegedly caused harm to her private parts.

Earlier this year, the SC agreed to list pleas seeking the criminalisation of marital rape. The central government, however, submitted before the apex court that this would have “social ramifications” .

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