A recent ruling has just confirmed that rape laws do not apply if a couple is legally wed. The judge, Virender Baht, ruled that even if the husband forced non-consensual sex on his new wife it cannot be called rape and no culpability can be fastened upon the accused.

This is because of a huge gap in Indian rape laws. 

If a couple is legally married a man can rape his wife and she will have no legal recourse. This is after the new Anti-Rape Bill was passed by government which included stricter laws and punishments for rapists after the brutal gang rape that killed 23 year-old student, Jyoti Singh.

Yet the government did not include marital rape in the bill. The failure to criminalise marital rape is a gross oversight that reflects many people’s opinion on marital rape. 

This is a great concern, especially in a country where arranged marriages are the norm and more than 47% of girls are married before they are 18.

With India’s child bride problem this gross gap in justice effectively allows a man to repeatedly rape a minor without fear of legal action against him. 

As rape usually forms a part of domestic abuse a woman will not be able to accuse an abusive husband of rape until a law against it is passed.

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