ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Criminalising Necrophilia in India


Arecent decision of the Karnataka High Court in June 2023 acquitting the accused of raping a dead body and subsequently asking the government to amend the law as, in the eyes of the court, “a careful reading of Sections 375 and 377 of the IPC makes it clear that a dead body cannot be called a human or person.” The court held that in such cases, “the provisions of Sections 375 or 377 would not be applicable.” The crime, termed “necrophilia,” that is, the practise of having sex with a dead body, is a horrible act that contravenes notions of natural justice and human dignity. However, it is not included as a crime under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860.

Necrophilia comes from the words “dead body” and “philia,” which means “attracted to” or “love.” It is a form of paraphilia in which the person has sex with the dead for sexual pleasure. Necrophilia is a repugnant practice that insults the dignity of the dead. It robs people of their inalienable right to dignity, even after their death. The act betrays the respect and honour due to every individual, even in their final moments, as well as disregarding the sanctity of the human body. One disregards the value of human dignity, which is a cornerstone of any civilised society, by refusing to treat necrophilia as a crime.

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