Marital rape to attract upto 7 years of jail: ordinance

Sex without consent

Marital rape will also attract stringent punishment under the ordinance proposed by the Centre.

Sex by husband with his wife during separation without consent will lead upto seven years of imprisonment, according to the proposed ordinance on anti-rape law approved by the Union Cabinet yesterday.

Justice J S Verma Committee recommended deletion of IPC's Section 376A (Intercourse by a man with his wife during separation) under which currently maximum punishment is two years. Implied in that was the view that marital rape should also be brought under the definition of rape.

However, the government has decided to retain it but enhanced the punishment for the crime -- from two years to maximum seven years of imprisonment.

"We have increased the punishment but decided to retain the clause to give an opportunity to a couple for reconciliation," a Home Ministry official said.

So far, Section 376A is a non-cognizable offence but the proposed ordinance made such a crime a cognizable offence.

Several women organisations have demanded deletion of Section 376A as recommended by Justice Verma Committee and are planning to appeal to President not to sign the proposed ordinance.

Responding to another criticism that personnel of armed forces often take the shield of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 after committing crime against women, the Home Ministry official clarified that no sanction would be required if the armed force personnel is accused of a crime against a woman.

In a bid to fast-track stringent amendments to the criminal laws to check crime against women, the Union Cabinet last night approved promulgation of an ordinance by including capital punishment for rape that leads to death of the victim or leaving her in a vegetative state.

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