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The verdict is in, and it doesn’t go far enough. As reported on Wednesday, a two-judge bench of the Delhi high court is split down the middle in deciding if rape isn’t so if a man forces himself on his own wife. While one judge sought to strike down the current immunity granted to married men under an Indian Penal Code exception as unconstitutional, the other disagreed. And so, marital rape is still not a crime in India, one of only 36 countries in the world where this is so.

This must change. A woman’s right over her body cannot depend on whether she is married or not. Nor is marriage a permanent grant of consent; that would mean a relationship of bondage, not freedom. This bizarre exception has been sustained by paranoia about the institution of marriage coming apart. But our Constitution puts the individual first, as it should. Of course, this is not the last word on the issue. Our judges have, over time, batted for a more liberal society, whether it is on same-sex relations or property rights for women. On this, the Supreme Court must go the full distance and make rape—under any circumstances—a crime to be punished. Let us uphold the Constitution.

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