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Forced Sexual Intercourse by Husband with legally wedded wife, not rape: Chattisgarh High Court

Legal Correspondent: Malaika Kadam


Sexual intercourse by a husband with his legally wedded wife is not rape, even though it is forced, observed the Chattisgarh High Court. The statement was given by a single bench of Justice N.K. Chandravanshi, during a Criminal Revision Petition filed by Dilip Pandey and others, and the man accused of marital rape was discharged.

The applicants had filed the Revision Petition against the order passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Bemetara District, on 22nd January 2021. Applicant No. 1 – Dilip Pandey faced charges under Sections 498-A, 34, 376, and 377 of the Indian Penal Code, while other applicants – Dinesh Kumar and Varsha Pandey, faced charges under Section 498-A of IPC.

On 8th June 2017, the marriage of the applicant No. 1/husband, with the non-applicant/wife, was solemnized, a couple of days after which the applicant began harassing the non-applicant on demand of dowry. The wife was physically abused and had also been subject to domestic violence and instances of unnatural physical relations were made by her husband with her. She ended up filing a complaint against her husband at Police Station, Bemetara. The aforementioned sections were filed against the applicant post investigation, and the same charges were framed against the applicant by the trial court after hearing the counsels of both parties.

The applicant’s counsel contended that the parties are legally married husband and wife, and consequently, the ingredients of the offence under Section 376 and 377 of IPC are not fulfilled, and marital rape is not recognized as an offence in India, nor is it an offence owing to Exception II of Section 375 of the IPC. He further contended that a key ingredient of Section 377 of IPC is carnal intercourse against the order of nature, which is non est in this case, and the charges of Section 498A of IPC are also not sustainable. Thus, the charges framed are unlawful and untrue. It was prayed that the order be set aside and the charges be discharged, by the counsel of the applicant.

The Court noted that the applicant was the legally wedded husband of the complainant, and took into account the Exception II of Section 375 of IPC. In this case, it was said by the Court that sexual intercourse by the husband with his legally wedded wife, would not constitute the offence of rape, even if it was forced or against her will, and thus, discharged the applicant from the charge under Section 376 of IPC.

Further, regarding Section 498A of IPC, the Court said that by taking into account the statements of the complainant stating that she was subjected to cruelty on demand of dowry by all the applicants, the supporting statements of parents of the complainant, and the facts stated by neighbouring witnesses, no infirmity was found in framing charges under Section 498A of IPC against the applicants.

For the charges framed under Section 377 of IPC, the Court noted that being subject to unnatural physical relation without her consent was specified by the complainant in her written report. Moreover, it was observed that the underlying intention of the wrongdoer is to derive unnatural sexual satisfaction, which may be obtained by the repetitive insertion of any object in the sex organ of the victim, and this will constitute carnal intercourse against the order of nature, hence, attracting the aforementioned provision of the Indian Penal Code.

No infirmity or illegality was found in this charge, as well.

As a result, the Criminal Revision Petition was allowed by the Chattisgarh High Court.


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