India, despite being a country whose lawmakers have taken extensive steps to curb crimes like rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse has turned a dead eye towards the concept of Marital Rape. Not that the existence of marital rape in india is negligible, but the central government claims that it would shatter the values of the Indian family system and break the sanctity of a wedding. Marital rape is generally construed as an act of initiating sexual intercourse with one’s spouse without the other spouse giving consent to do so. While unwilling sexual contact between a husband and a wife is recognized as a criminal offense in almost every country of the world, India is one of the thirty-six countries that still have not criminalized marital rape.

India is currently the seventh largest country in the world, and the rate of increase in crime rates is very disturbing and embarrassing for a prosperous, multicultural, large and secular country like India. Marital rape is currently not only a major concern in the field of women’s rights, but also violates some constitutional provisions.

Reasons Of Marital Rape

As per findings by certain psychologists some reasons for martial rape are:

  1. Dominance: The Indian society has long revolved around patriarchy and the elaborate process of insulting, attacking and disrobing the victim makes marital rape particularly demeaning for the woman which makes the man feel he is more powerful, and the woman shall always be at his mercy.

  2. Sexual dissonance between the couple: Sometimes, the woman may not be interested in sex for reasons that are clear only to her and may refuse her husband. Men are generally more oversexed than women are. So when the man is denied sex, he treats it as an insult to his manhood.

Who are the perpetrators of marital rapes?

  1. Men with low self-esteem: Men who carry out marital rapes generally have a very low self esteem. A confident person should not rely on imposing himself on his wife. He will have enough dignity to either respect her wishes or seek sexual pleasures outside.

  2. Unemployed Men: A 2002 study confirms that odds of marital rape are greater among unemployed men. Being unemployed may dent their self-esteem which can precipitate into violence in the bedroom.

  3. Family Factors: If a man has grown up in an environment where he has seen his father enact the same behavior with his mother, the chances of him emulating his father will be greater.

Laws guarding Marital Rape In India

The Indian Constitution

Not only is the Indian Constitution a safeguard against all the wrongs for the Indian citizens, but it also clearly demarcates what’s right from what’s wrong. Along with rights, it also crowns upon its citizens the responsibility that go hand in hand with it. Each citizen has a responsibility towards the State and its fellow citizens.

Article 21: Right to Life and Right to Live with Human Dignity

The Right to Life is an all encompassing right. Every time an issue on human rights violation crops up, the Right to Life comes to play an integral role in that scenario. The Article 21 guarantees each and every citizen a Right to a healthy and a decent life without any kind of encroachment from the State or any other party. Once this right is violated, the victim can approach the Court to seek Constitutional remedies against the violation under Article 32 of the Indian constitution.

IPC 319 - Hurt

Hurt Whoever causes bodily pain, disease or infirmity to any person is said to cause hurt.

IPC 321 - Voluntarily causing hurt

Whoever does any act with the intention of thereby causing hurt to any person, or with the knowledge that he is likely thereby to cause hurt to any person, and does thereby cause hurt to any person, is said “voluntarily to cause hurt”

IPC 322 - Voluntarily causing grievous hurt

Whoever voluntarily causes hurt, if the hurt which he intends to cause or knows himself to be likely to cause is grievous hurt, and if the hurt which he causes grievous hurt, is said “ voluntarily to cause grievous hurt.”Section 339- Wrongful restraint Whoever voluntarily obstructs any person so as to prevent that person from proceeding in any direction in which that person has a right to proceed, is said wrongfully to
restrain that person.

IPC 349 - Force

A person is said to use force to another if he causes motion, change of motion, or cessation of motion to that other, or if he causes to any substance such motion, or change of motion, or cessation of motion as brings that substance into contact that other’s body, or with anything which that other is wearing or carrying, or with anything so situated that such contact affects that other’s sense of feeling: Provided that the person causing the motion, or change of motion, or cessation of motion, causes that motion, change of motion, orcessation of motion in one of the three ways hereinafter described.

IPC 351- Assault

Whoever makes any gesture, or any preparation intending or knowing. it to be likely that such gesture or preparation will cause any person present to apprehend thathe who makes that gesture or preparation is about to use criminal force to that person, is said to commit an assault.

IPC 375 - Rape

A man is said to commit “rape” who, except in the case hereinafter excepted, has sexual intercourse with a woman under circumstances falling under any of the six following descriptions:-

  • First- Against her will.
  • Secondly,- Without her consent.
  • Thirdly- With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested in fear of death or of hurt.
  • Fourthly- With her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband, and that her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully married.
  • Fifthly - With her consent, when, at the time of giving such consent, by reason of unsoundness of mind or intoxication or the administration by him personally or through another of any stupefying or unwholesome substance, she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that to which she gives consent.
  • Sixthly - With or without her consent, when she is under sixteen years of age.

In ancient India, spousal rape had legal and social backing, supported by the mate’s right to have sexual intercourse with the spouse. In this context, it is more of a patriarchal requirement. Marital rape in India is heavily influenced by different understandings of the courts and passages of the Indian Constitution or Indian Criminal Code that do not exist. However, the central government cannot be the only one to blame for this heinous and horrific misogyny. This is a very patriarchal order in Indian society dominated by men. Society itself empowers men to commit such crimes and eventually escape punishment. Marital rape is itself part of domestic violence. It is a means of forcibly controlling the thoughts, thoughts, body, and mind of another. This is a violation of an individual’s right to privacy and dignity.


The continuous exclusion of marital rape from the scope of the criminal code confirms the recognition of the wife as the husband’s exclusive property. Revisioning sex crime laws is a complex and delicate process, especially in countries like India, where there are diverse and distinct individual and religious legal systems that may conflict with new amendments to criminal laws.

Is it possible for the government to infiltrate the private sphere? Yes, the answer is “yes”. Why put the most horrific and horrific crimes outside the jurisdiction of the state and the law, as has already been done in atrocities, divorces and dowry claims? Why is the topic of marital rape still taboo?

An immediate requirement of Indian criminal law is to make marital rape a crime. However, simply declaring the act illegal is not enough. Immediate and strict action is needed to raise awareness among courts and police. It is also necessary to inform the general public about this crime. Because the real purpose of criminalizing marital rape can only be realized if society recognizes and confronts the widespread misconception that rape by husbands is irrelevant.