India, Pakistan China: List of countries where marital rape is not a crime
New Delhi, May 12: India remains among the 30-odd nations where marital rape is not criminalised as the Delhi High Court split verdict on the issue on Wednesday gave little to cheer about to those fighting against the alleged discriminatory clause under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, news agency PTI reported.
According to a UN Women report, most of these 34 countries were developing nations including Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Haiti, Laos, Mali, Senegal, Tajikistan and Botswana.
Thirty-two per cent of women in India who have ever been married have experienced spousal physical, sexual, or emotional violence, according to the latest fifth round of the National Family Health Survey (NHFS-5).
It further revealed that 25 per cent of married women in the 18-49 years age group who have experienced spousal physical or sexual violence report having physical injuries, including seven per cent who have had eye injuries, sprains, dislocations, or burns and 6 per cent who have had deep wounds, broken bones, broken teeth, or any other serious injury.
In the case of marital rape, India continues to adhere to the archaic colonial law where unwilling sexual contact between a husband and a wife is not recognised as a criminal offence.
One of the two exceptions provided under the Section 375 of India's Penal Code (IPC), the provision which defines all forms of sexual assault involving non-consensual intercourse with a woman as rape, states "sexual intercourse by a man with his wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape".
Activists alleged that this exception gives immunity to men from a punishable offence of rape when committed in a contract of marriage and violates the Constitution.
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday delivered a split verdict with one of the judges favouring striking down the provision, and the other holding it was not unconstitutional.
The division bench however granted leave to the parties to file an appeal before the Supreme Court.
List of countries where marital rape is not a crime:
- Brunei Darussalam
- Cote dIvoire
- South Sudan
- Central African Republic
- Democratic Republic of Congo