In what is being hailed as another decision calling for a judicial reconsideration of the marital rape exception in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), a single-judge bench of the Karnataka High Court (HC) has declined to drop rape charges against a man for repeatedly sexually assaulting his wife. Justice M Nagaprasanna said in his verdict that marriage does not provide any special privilege to a husband to abuse a woman, even if shes his wife.Institution of marriage does not confer, cannot confer and in my considered view, should not be construed to confer, any special male privilege or a license for unleashing of a brutal beast. If it is punishable to a man, it should be punishable to a man albeit, the man being a husband, he said while refusing to accept the husbands plea that he cannot be tried for marital rape under the IPC. In my considered view, such an argument cannot be countenanced. A man is a man; an act is an act; rape is a rape, be it performed by a man the husband on the woman wife, the bench pointed out.The case came to light when, in March 2017, the woman accused her husband of sodomy, aggravated sexual harassment and assault of their nine-year-old daughter, domestic violence and causing hurt. The police conducted a thorough investigation, after which additional charges under section 376 (punishment for rape) and sections 5(m), 5(l) and section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, were filed against the man.The Karnataka governments law officer argued for the husband that the husband is exempted from the allegation of section 375 of IPC, but the HC bench noted that the wifes complaint and written communications would send a chilling effect on any human being reading the contents of it. The wife-the complainant, cries foul in no unmistakable terms that she is being brutally, sexually harassed keeping her as a sex slave for ages.The exemption of the husband on committal of such assault/rape, in the peculiar facts and circumstances of this case, cannot be absolute, as no exemption in law can be so absolute that it becomes a license for the commission of crime against society, the bench said. Justice Nagaprasanna also questioned the exemption of marital rape from section 375 of the IPC, noting that it was regressive. Women and men being equal under the Constitution cannot be made unequal by Exception-2 to Section 375 of the IPC. It is for the lawmakers to ponder over the existence of such inequalities in law, his judgement said.