The Centre told the Delhi High Court on Tuesday that criminalising marital rape may destabilise the institution of marriage, reported LiveLaw.

The Centre cited the misuse of Section 498A and said that if criminalised, the accusation of marital rape would become an easy tool for harassing husbands. By this section of the law, a husband and his family can be arrested without any investigation if a wife or her relative files a complaint saying the man or his family have abused her mentally or physically.

The central government also claimed that there can be no “lasting evidence” in the case of sexual acts between a man and his wife. “If all sexual acts by a man with his own wife will qualify to be marital rape, then the judgment as to whether it is a marital rape or not will singularly rest with the wife,” the government said in its submission. “The question is what evidences the Courts will rely upon in such circumstances, as there can be no lasting evidence in case of sexual acts between a man and his own wife”.

The lead petition in the case has been filed by RIT Foundation, and the All India Democratic Women’s Association. A victim of marital rape has also joined the petition as an intervener.