Karnataka High Court’s Verdict on Necrophilia

The Karnataka High Court recently delivered a significant verdict regarding a controversial case involving sexual intercourse with a woman’s dead body.

The Court’s Ruling and Case Background

In the case before the Karnataka High Court, which involved a rape and murder incident of a 21-year-old woman, the court held that having sexual intercourse with a woman’s dead body does not fall under the offense of rape punishable under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The court acquitted the accused of the charge of “raping” the victim’s dead body, stating that there is no provision in the IPC to punish such an act.

Necrophilia and its Legal Status

The court further stated that the dead body cannot be considered a human or a person, leading to the conclusion that the provisions of Sections 375 (rape) and 377 (unnatural offenses) of the IPC do not apply. The court specifically labeled sexual intercourse with a dead body as necrophilia, defining it as a morbid fascination with death and the dead. It highlighted that necrophilia is not explicitly listed as an offense in the IPC.

International Approach to Necrophilia

While necrophilia is not specifically addressed in Indian law, several countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa, have legislation that prohibits sexual acts with corpses. The United Kingdom’s Sexual Offences Act, 2003, includes necrophilia as an offense, making “sexual penetration of a corpse” punishable by imprisonment.

Recommendations and Future Implications

The Karnataka High Court recommended that the Centre consider amending Section 377 of the IPC, which deals with unnatural offenses, to include dead bodies or introduce a separate penal provision specifically addressing necrophilia. The court suggested a penalty of life imprisonment up to 10 years with a fine for necrophilia-related offenses.

Moreover, the court emphasized the need for enhanced regulations in mortuaries. It directed the installation of CCTV cameras, maintenance of hygiene and privacy, ensuring the security of clinical records and information, and sensitizing mortuary staff.



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