Consent of Victim in Rape Cases in India

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Consent of Victim in Rape cases in India

A rapist not only violates the victim's privacy and personal integrity, but inevitably causes serious psychological as well as physical harm in the process. Rape is not merely assault - it is often destructive of the whole personality of the victim. The murderer destroys the physical body of his victim. Rapist degrades the very soul of the helpless female.

Rape is defined under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 as –

“Rape.—A man is said to commit “rape” who, except in the case hereinafter excepted, has sexual intercourse with a woman under circumstances falling under any of the six following de-scriptions:—

First.— Against her will.

Secondly.—Without her consent.

Thirdly.— With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested in fear of death or of hurt.

Fourthly.—With her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband, and that her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be law-fully married.

Fifthly.— With her consent, when, at the time of giving such consent, by reason of unsoundness of mind or intoxication or the administration by him personally or through another of any stupe¬fying or unwholesome substance, she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that to which she gives consent.

Sixthly.— With or without her consent, when she is under sixteen years of age.”

For the offence of rape as defined above in Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, the sexual intercourse should have been against the will of the woman or without her consent.

Consent is immaterial in certain circumstances covered by clauses thirdly to sixthly, the last one being when the woman is under 16 years of age. Based on these provisions, an argument is usually advanced on behalf of the accused charged with rape that the absence of proof of want of consent where the prosecutrix is not under 16 years...