India - Penal Code 1860, as amended by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act No. 13 of 2013 - Equality Now

India - Penal Code 1860, as amended by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act No. 13 of 2013

Marital rape is not a crime in India. It needs to be. Laws which permit marital rape treat women as the property of their husbands.

  • Country: India
  • Law status: Discriminatory law in force
  • Law Type: Rape

Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code of 1860 allows a man to rape his wife if she is over 15 years of age.

Section 375. A man is said to commit “rape” if he (a) penetrates his penis, to any extent, into the vagina, mouth, urethra or anus of a woman . . . under the circumstances falling under any of the following seven descriptions . . . Sixthly. –With or without her consent, when she is under eighteen years of age.

Exception 2. Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.

Link to full law



In 2005, India passed The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act No. 43 which provides for women to access various civil remedies for domestic violence including sexual abuse. However, there are no criminal penalties for marital rape when a wife is over 15 years old.

Article 14 of the Constitution of India: The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.


UPDATE: On 11 October, 2017, the Indian Supreme Court ruled that part of the Indian Penal Code which excused marital rape of minors between the ages of 15-18, was unconstitutional. Going forward, a man will be considered guilty of rape if he has intercourse with a wife who is under the age of 18. However,  the exception for marital rape of adult women remains - please continue to take action by calling on the Indian government to ensure justice for all rape victims!


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