Tamoghna Agasti
Jindal Global Law School, Haryana

Rape is such an offence where the women loses agency over her body. It violates her bodily integrity and dignity. The law gives strict punishment to the perpetrator of the crime. However, when it comes to rape within marriage, the law instead of protecting the victim, focuses on protecting the criminal. A large number of women has to face the consequences of non-criminalization of this offence.  This paper provides a comprehensive view on the present status of marital rape. It begins by examining the origin of marital rape exemption and then it moves on to explain the justifications that exist in today world. A detailed reasoning has been provided as to why none of these justifications are valid. It then talks about the reality of marital rape and how it traumatises the wife. The law aims at protecting the sacred institution of marriage by not interfering, but how can a marriage remain sacred when she has to encounter sexual violence. After providing a general overview, this paper then focuses on marital rape in the Indian context. Firstly, how the legislature is reluctant about making changes regarding marital rape exemption. Secondly, about how the marital rape exemption is unconstitutional and should be removed. Throughout the paper, an attempt is made to prove that there is no justification for the marital exemption in current times. There is a real and urgent need of criminalizing marital rape with strict punishments.

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