The wife as an accomplice: Section 377 and the regulation of sodomy in marriage in India

Mandal, Saptarshi (2016) The wife as an accomplice: Section 377 and the regulation of sodomy in marriage in India. In: The Life and Future of British Colonial Sexual Regulation in Asia,, 8 and 9 October 2015, Singapore.

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Dominant judicial construction posits s 377 of the Indian Penal Code as embodying a neutral prohibition of socially disapproved sexual acts, that applies to persons irrespective of their sexual identity, orientation or legal status. This article refutes this proposition by examining the legal regulation of sodomy within marriage in India. By comparing the legal regulation of sexual acts referred to as “unnatural sex” by s 377 with the regulation of the same set of sexual acts within marriage, by Indian divorce law and Indian rape law, the article highlights the exceptional treatment of what is otherwise deemed “unnatural”. In the process, the article seeks to uncover a lesser-known legacy of colonial (sexual) governance in contemporary India: the idea of consensual sodomy within marriage, which also casts the wife as an “accomplice”.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords: Indian Penal Code | Indian divorce law
Subjects: Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Law and Legal Studies
JGU School/Centre: Jindal Global Law School
Depositing User: Amees Mohammad
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2022 07:29
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2022 06:55


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