In a groundbreaking decision, the Gujarat High Court has clearly stated that marital rape is a crime and the husband cannot escape punishment. The court’s ruling came during the hearing of a case involving Anjanabena Modha Bana State of Gujarat from Rajkot district.
The Gujarat High Court, led by Justice Divyesh Joshi, made this significant pronouncement on December 8, emphasizing that even if the sexual violence is committed by the victim’s husband, it will be considered rape, warranting punishment under IPC 376.
According to reports from Bar & Bench, Justice Divyesh Joshi highlighted that marital rape is considered a crime in approximately 50 countries, including various US states, three Australian states, New Zealand, Canada, Israel, France, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, the Soviet Union, Poland, and Czechoslovakia.
Citing the need for a shift in social attitudes, Justice Joshi remarked that the prevailing notion of ‘boys will be boys’ must be challenged. He emphasized that the Heavy Penal Code, heavily influenced by the UK, has eliminated the exemption previously granted to husbands from rape charges. Justice Divyesh Joshi, in his order, asserted that any man, regardless of his relationship with the victim, should face punishment under Section 376 of the IPC for sexually harassing or assaulting a woman. He vehemently opposed the notion of granting immunity to husbands in such cases, emphasizing that rape is rape, irrespective of the perpetrator’s identity.
Expressing the need for a shift in societal attitudes, Justice Joshi stated that it is unacceptable to tolerate such acts based on the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim, whether they are spouses or otherwise.
The strong remarks were made in the context of a case in Rajkot, where a woman had filed a complaint against her husband, mother-in-law, and father-in-law. The victim alleged that her husband not only recorded nude videos but also uploaded them to pornographic websites. During the court proceedings, it was argued on behalf of the victim that the husband’s actions were influenced by his parents, with financial gain as their motive.
The court rejected the bail plea of all the accused in this case, marking a significant step forward in addressing marital rape as a crime and challenging societal norms.
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