Amit Varma is a writer based in Mumbai. He worked in journalism for over a decade, and won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007. His bestselling novel, My Friend Sancho, was published in 2009. He is best known for his blog, India Uncut. His current project is a non-fiction book about the lack of personal and economic freedoms in post-Independence India.
This headline is fairly disgusting:
But this attitude, of woman as property of man, is enshrined in the Indian Penal Code. Consider the following laws (emphasis mine):
Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both. In such case the wife shall be punishable as an abettor.
498. Enticing or taking away or detaining with criminal intent a married woman
Whoever takes or entices away any woman who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of any other man, from that man, or from any person having the care of her on behalf of that man, with intent that she may have illicit intercourse with any person, or conceals or detains with that intent any such woman, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
These laws, which I’ve blogged about before, are not the only idiotic laws in the IPC, which was drafted in the 19th century by the British. There’s 292, and 295 (a), and 377, and so on and on and on. We’ve thrown the British out, but, as if out of a perverse nostalgia, retained some of the worst things they left us, long after the British themselves have modernized. Such it goes…
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