Supreme Court rejects the plea to criminalize marital rape in India

India pledged for parity on this International Women's Day, however, when the time came to put that pledge into effect, India disappointed many women. On one hand, India celebrated the emancipation of women. But on the other hand, it led down the entire female population by not criminalizing marital rape.

Does this highlight the hypocrisy of India?  They are painting a glorious picture before the world wherein India is adopting ample measures to uplift the condition of women and liberate them from the social stigma's of the society. But is that picture the true representation of India?

When one starts to look through the picture, It might portray India as a two-faceted nation. Globally, it supports the movement of women, However, it fails to implement the same within the system. This is evident from the recent judgement ruled by the Supreme Court that has rejected the plea of suppressed women to criminalize marital rape.

India believes in the institution of marriage that binds two families together. It celebrates the sanctimonious bond between two individuals who pledge to live together in sickness and in health. However, when marriage gives birth to a sinister baby, India turns a blind eye towards it. Marital rapes are one of the sadistic babies born out of marriage. The man exercises his control over the woman to consummate their wedding with or without her consent. 

Marital rapes takes place when a man forces his better half to engage in a sexual activity against her will. In such cases, a woman's existence is reduced to a mere toy that is used to satiate the sexual hunger of the man. They are subjected to physical as well as mental agony that leaves an imprint on the victim's mind and traumatizes the soul. 

What is rather astonishing is the fact that many do not use the term 'rape' for such offenders. They shadow it with the word 'violence'. Although a woman can seek divorce from the man on grounds of domestic violence, however the man will not be punished for committing the deed as Supreme Court does not recognize this as a crime. 

That is the irony of the situation. You rape a girl outside the institution of marriage, its considered to be an act of immodesty. However, if you engage in coitus without the permission of your wife and subject her to physical atrocities, that is not considered to be a crime according to Indian laws. 

Even the world has begun to recognize this as a heinous act against women. Nations like America, United Kingdoms, Germany and others have embarked social reforms to protect women from being subjected to this act of brutality.However Supreme Court has refused to criminalize marital rapes, putting an end to all the attempts undertaken by Justice J.S Verma who,along with a panel of three, worked extensively to formulate new laws to enhance the security of the women. 

The Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, stated the following reason at Parliament for their decision. "It is considered that the concept of marital rape, as understood internationally, cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context due to various factors like level of education/ illiteracy, poverty, myriad social customs and values, religious beliefs, mindset of the society to treat the marriage as a sacrament etc."

This judgement has contradicted India's stance on women liberation across the world and highlighted it's inability to incorporate revolutionary changes in the system.

(Written by Ishita Kapai)