Forceful pregnancy of a married woman can be treated as “marital rape” for the purpose of abortion, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday as it delivered a significant verdict recognising women’s reproductive rights and bodily autonomy, Bar and Bench reported.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, JB Pardiwala and AS Bopanna made the observation while delivering its judgement on the interpretation of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, examining whether unmarried or single women can be allowed the benefit of abortion up to 24 weeks like their married counterparts.
“Married women may also form part of class of survivors,” Justice Chandrachud said while reading the judgement. “Rape means sexual intercourse without consent and intimate partner violence is a reality. In this case also woman may get forcefully pregnant.”
The bench, therefore, ruled that under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, the definition of rape must include “marital rape”.
The Supreme Court also noted that “intimate partner violence” is a reality and can lead to rape, Live Law reported.
“The misconception that strangers are exclusively or almost exclusively responsible for sex and gender based violence is a deeply regrettable one,” the bench said. “Sex and gender based violence in all its form in the context of family has long formed a part of the lived experiences of women.”
The judges, however, stressed…