Tamil Nadu

Need to recognise marital rape as an offence, say panellists at discussion organised by Prajnya Trust

There is a need for marital rape to be recognised as an offence under the Indian Penal Code and more discourse must be initiated on consent, said panellists at a discussion on Monday.

In a virtual panel discussion on marital rape titled ‘Does marriage mean consent?’ organised by the Prajnya Trust, a city-based non-governmental organisation, the panellists stressed the need to remove the marital rape exception in Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code as it made woman’s consent irrelevant.

The panel discussion was part of Prajnya’s 16-day campaign against gender violence.

Audrey D’Mello, programme director, Majlis Legal Centre, said the definition of different crimes against women in domestic relationships provided under the IPC needed to be re-looked at. All types of violence in a relationship are interrelated, she said.

The panel also discussed the criminalisation of marital rape. Citing several cases, Ms. D’Mello said stringent punishment alone may not have more women report cases. In many instances, women seek relief and maintenance or the right to residences rather than punishment for husbands.

Jhuma Sen, advocate and policy consultant elaborated on the discourse on marital rape and recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee. She noted that the law discriminated against married women by refusing equal protection from rape.

Noting that domestic violence had increased during the pandemic, Saumya Uma of the Jindal Global Law School said the National Crime Records Bureau did not gather any data on marital rape. There were several legal, social and political challenges in tackling the issue. The role of non-governmental organisations was significant in providing socio-legal support to women, she said.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2022 11:10:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/need-to-recognise-marital-rape-as-an-offence-say-panellists-at-discussion-organised-by-prajnya-trust/article37897229.ece

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