An act of sexual assault on the wife, albeit by the husband, can be termed a rape, the Karnataka high court said on Wednesday. “A man is a man; an act is an act; rape is a rape, be it performed by a man, the ‘husband’, on the woman, the ‘wife’,” Justice M Nagaprasanna said while declining to interfere with the proceedings initiated against the accused husband vis-a-vis charges of rape, cruelty, criminal intimidation and also offences under Section 29 and 30 of Pocso Act in connection with alleged sexual acts committed against his daughter.
“The 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 licence for the unleashing of a brutal beast,” Justice Nagaprasanna said.
“If it is punishable to a man, it should be punishable to a man, albeit him being a husband,” the judge said.
“Such sexual assault by a husband on his wife will have grave consequences on the mental state of the wife, it has both psychological and physiological impact on her. Such acts of husbands scar the soul of wives. It is, therefore, imperative for lawmakers to now hear the ‘voices of silence’,” Justice Nagaprasanna noted in his order.