New law sets five-year jail term for marital rape

Kathmandu, October 29

The Criminal Code Bill recently passed by the Parliament has defined marital rape as a criminal offence.

Sub-Section (4) of Section 219 states, “If a man rapes his wife when he is still in marital relationship with her, he shall be sentenced to up to five years in jail.” If the husband is paying monthly alimony to his wife and partition case is sub judice in the court, or if the wife is living separately by obtaining partition from husband and if any of them has filed for divorce at the court, their marital relationship shall be deemed to be continuing.

“Having sexual intercourse with any woman without her consent or any girl under 18 years of age with or without her consent by using force or showing threat shall be considered rape,” states the bill. One who commits rape shall face jail sentence ranging from seven to 20 years depending on the age of the victim and circumstances of rape.

“If a person rapes a minor under 10 years of age, he shall be sentenced to 20 years in jail,” the bill states.  If a person infected with HIV/AIDS or STD rapes any woman or girl, such person shall be liable to up to 10 years in jail, in addition to the punishment awarded by the court as per the rape-related legal provision.

Similarly, any person convicted of gang-rape or raping a woman with over six months of pregnancy and physically and mentally disabled woman or children shall be liable to additional five years in jail.

Section 220 of the bill provisions a punishment of up to life imprisonment (25 years) for anyone found guilty of incestual rape. “If a biological mother or son or father or daughter is raped, the guilty shall be liable to life imprisonment,” the bill states.

In the case of rape of step mother or son or father or daughter, brother or sister and other relatives of the same lineage, the guilty shall be awarded 10 years in jail. The law also prohibits bestiality. “No one shall rape an animal. If a person rapes a cow, he shall be punished with a jail sentence of up to two years. In the case of rape of other animals, the jail term has been fixed for up to one year,” the bill reads.