Tuesday, October 10, 2017

'Sex with minor wife is to be considered rape', says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court (SC) today ruled that sex with a wife who's a minor is rape and therefore a crime.

The top court did not rule on marital rape.

Before today's SC ruling, there was an exception in Section 375 rape law provisions that protected a man who had sexual relations with his wife even if she was under 18, which is the age of consent.

"Exception 2 in Section 375 of IPC (Indian Penal Code) granting protection to husband is violative of constitution and fundamental rights of minor bride', says Supreme Court.

The top court's verdict upholds the rights of 2.3 crore child brides in the country.

The SC rejected the plea of the Centre which justified the provision on the grounds that child marriage is a reality in the country and such marriage has to be protected.

A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur had on September 6 asked the Centre how Parliament could create an exception in a law when the age of consent is 18.
Also in September, the apex court had said it did not want to go into the aspect of marital rape, but when the age of consent was 18 years for "all purposes", why was such an exception made in the IPC.
Responding to the query, the Centre's counsel had said if this exception under the IPC goes, then it would open up the arena of marital rape which does not exist in India.
As per the National Family Health Survey, 46 percent of women between the ages of 18-29 years were married before the age of 18.

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