Rape of dead body not punishable under existing laws, Karnataka HC want them amended to criminalise necrophilia
It might come as a shocker but necrophilia is not considered rape in India. The law says so. The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday ruled that the sexual assault of a dead body did not come under the ambit of rape or unnatural offences under the Indian Penal Code.
The court passed the order while acquitting a man from charges of raping a 25-year-old woman after murdering her. It said that “unfortunately in India no specific legislation is enacted, including under the provisions of IPC for the purpose of upholding dignity and protecting rights and crime against the dead body of the woman”.
A lower court had convicted Rangaraju of murder and sexual assault. The Karanataka HC, who was hearing the appeal filed by the man upheld the order convicting the accused on charges of murder.
However, the bench of Justices B Veerappa and Venkatesh Naik also recommended that the Centre amend the law to ensure that necrophilia would be considered an offence. Observing that attendants appointed to guard bodies in mortuaries of many government and private hospitals indulge in “sexual intercourse” on the corpses, it called for the amendment of the Indian Penal Code under the definition of the offence of unnatural sex or introduce a new provision in IPC to make necrophilia an offence.
“It is high time for the state government to ensure such crimes do not happen, thereby maintaining dignity of the dead body of the woman,” observed Justice B Veerappa, who authored the judgment for the bench, reports The Hindu.
“It is high time for the Union government, in order to maintain right to dignity of the dead person/woman, to amend the provisions of Section 377 of IPC to include dead body of any man, woman or animal or to introduce a separate provision as offence against dead woman as necrophilia or sadism” as has been done in other countries to ensure the dignity of the dead person, the bench observed.
What is necrophilia?
Necrophilia is a term used to describe a sexual attraction or act involving a person engaging in sexual activities with a deceased body. It is considered a highly taboo and deviant behavior. Necrophilia often coexists with other paraphilias, which are characterized by abnormal or extreme sexual desires. These can include sadism, cannibalism, and necrophagia (consuming the flesh of the dead).
The term "necrophilia" is derived from the Greek words "philios" (attraction to/love) and "nekros" (dead body). It was coined by Joseph Guislain, a Belgian Alienist, and gained popular usage in the 19th century. However, instances of sexual abuse involving the deceased have been documented throughout history, including in Greek mythology, the Greco-Roman period, and the Middle Ages.
Why do people want to have sex with the dead?
The motivation behind necrophilia varies among individuals. According to a study that reviewed numerous cases of necrophilic acts and fantasies, the most common motive identified was the desire for a partner who is unresisting and unrejecting. In other words, some individuals are attracted to the idea of engaging in sexual activities with a passive and non-responsive partner. It is worth noting that not all individuals who work with corpses or have access to them exhibit necrophilic tendencies, but there have been cases of mortuary attendants or funeral home workers being involved in such acts. These individuals may choose professions that allow them proximity to deceased bodies, facilitating their deviant desires.
It is important to emphasize that necrophilia is universally condemned and illegal in most jurisdictions due to the violation of the sanctity and dignity of the deceased. It is regarded as a severe psychological disorder and a criminal offense.