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Unnatural sex (S. 377 IPC): Karnataka HC orders further probe into woman's complaint against husband

Case Title: Vikram Vincent vs State of Karnataka

Sonal Bhargava | Prabhat Bandhulya

The Karnataka High Court recently chastised the State Police for their shoddy investigation in a complaint filed by a wife accusing her husband of forcing her to have unnatural sex with him. Justice M Nagaprasanna, a single-judge, was hearing a petition from a woman seeking additional investigation into her 2017 complaint, saying that her husband compelled her to have unnatural intercourse and, upon her rejection, tortured, harassed, and physically abused her. According to the complaint, the husband took several indecent images of the complainant-wife and even recorded some video clips, which he then shared with her father and some acquaintances on social media sites such as WhatsApp and Facebook. However, neither section 377 (unnatural sex) of the Indian Penal Code nor the relevant laws of the Information and Technology (IT) Act, 2000 were used by the Bangalore City Police in their charge sheet submitted on September 26, 2019. Instead, the charge sheet only established a case of domestic abuse, resulting in a 498 A charge against the husband.

According to Justice Nagaprasanna, This fact indicated how sloppy the investigation had been. The judge stated that it is past time for the Director-General of Police (DGP) to review such sloppy investigations and take stern action against the investigating officials involved. In addition, the Court ordered that the current case be investigated further and that it be turned over to another officer. According to the circumstances of the case, the woman and the husband, both from Bangalore, met while pursuing their PhDs at IIT-Bombay in 2013, and they married in 2015. She stated that shortly after the marriage, her husband began pressuring her for unnatural intercourse, and that if she refused, he would frequently assault her. She eventually left her matrimonial home and went to her parent's house in Raipur, but her husband persuaded her to return, but his behaviour remained unchanged. She alleged that he would push her to have sexual encounters with other guys or even group sex. Finally, on January 4, 2016, less than six months after the marriage, she left his home and has been living independently since then. But her husband persisted in persuading her to return to his home, and when she finally refused, he sent her family and friends some indecent images and videos. Taking note of the charges, the Court stated that if the provisions of the law, the victim's complaint, and her police testimony were taken together, it would prima facie establish a case under section 377 of the IPC. As a result, the judge ordered that the spouse be investigated further and that a supplementary charge sheet be filed with the trial court within two months. He also turned down the husband's request to have the criminal proceedings against him halted.

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