In a first, the High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday upheld rape charges framed against a husband by a trial court for brutal sexual assault on his wife.
“...Rape is a rape, be it performed by a man, the ‘husband’, on the woman, ‘wife’,” the court said, while refusing to accept the contention of the accused-husband that acts alleged against the husband fell under exception granted to a man for his sexual acts with wife under Section 375 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Justice M. Nagaprasanna passed the order while dismissing the 46-year-old husband’s petition. The charge framed in 2018 against the husband for alleged rape of his wife, in the peculiar facts of this case, did not warrant any interference as it was a matter of trial, the High Court said.
The Bengaluru city police had filed a charge sheet after investigating the complaint, lodged by the 31-year-old wife in March 2017. Both the husband and the wife are natives of Odisha.
The petitioner is also facing charges of sexually assaulting his minor daughter. It was also alleged that he had sexual intercourse when his wife was pregnant resulting in termination of pregnancy, and many times he had forced “unnatural sex”, even in front of their minor daughter. The petitioner is also facing charges for sexually assaulting his minor daughter.
Meanwhile, the court directed the trial court to frame charges against him under Section 377 (unnatural sex) as the trial court had rejected a plea in this regard made by the wife.
While declining to accept contention that the husband was protected by the institution of marriage for any of his acts being performed, Justice Nagaprasanna said: “...Institution of marriage does not confer, cannot confer and in my considered view, should not be construed to confer, any special male privilege or a license for unleashing of a brutal beast.”
Stating that a perusal of the complaint and written communications of the complainant wife “would send a chilling effect on any human being reading the contents of it, the High Court said that the complainant cried foul in no unmistakable terms that “she is being brutally, sexually harassed keeping her as a sex slave for ages”.
“In the light of the ghastly allegations against the petitioner-husband in the complaint and several other communications, I find no error committed by the learned Sessions Judge in taking cognizance, framing the charge under Section 376 of the IPC and also rejecting the application to drop the said charge,” the court said.
“The exemption of the husband on committal of such assault/rape, in the peculiar facts and circumstances of this case, cannot be absolute, as no exemption in law can be so absolute that it becomes a license for commission of crime against society,” the court observed.