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India – Sex With Wife Below 18 Is Rape, Says Supreme Court #Vaw #Goodnews

 

Sex With Wife Below 18 Is Rape, Says Supreme Court
Under the Indian Penal Code or IPC, a man having sex with a girl below 18 – with or without her consent – is defined as a crime. However, an exception is made if the girl is his wife and not below 15.
All India | Reported by A Vaidyanathan, Edited by Deepshikha Ghosh | Updated: October 11, 2017 11:37 IST

‘If a man has sexual intercourse with a wife who is below 18, it’s an offence’: Supreme Court

 

Exception to Section 375 (rape) of the IPC, allowed a husband to have sexual relationship with his 15-year-old wife.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday held that a man will be punished for rape if he is found to be guilty of havIng sexual intercourse with his minor wife.

A Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta read down exception 2 to Section 375 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code.

The exception clause to the heinous offence of rape allows a man to have sex with his wife who is not aged below 15.

Verdict ends disparity

With this verdict, the apex court has ended the disparity between this exception to Section 375 (rape) of the IPC, which allows a husband to have sexual relationship with his 15-year-old wife, and the definition of ‘child’ in recent laws such as the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, which includes any person below the age of 18.

The verdict also ends tacit allowance the exception clause in the IPC provided to child marriages, which was declared illegal and is a punishable offence, though a social reality especially in rural parts of the country.

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 The court had agreed with NGO Independent Thought, which filed the petition challenging the exception, on how when sexual intercourse with a minor aged below 18 with or without her consent amounts to rape under IPC, it is not so once she is married.

The NGO had argued that the exception was a violation of the fundamental right to life and equality of minors.

The judgment, though the Bench had said time and again that it did not want to delve into the issue of marital rape, now inevitably opens a window for a law on marital rape.

The Supreme Court had questioned the reason for the Parliament to create an exception in the penal law declaring that sexual intercourse by a man with his minor wife is not rape.

The apex court had asked the reason behind such an exception in the Indian Penal Code when the age of consent was 18 years for “all purposes”.

“We do not want to go into the aspect of marital rape. That is for Parliament to see if they want to increase or decrease the age of consent. But once the Parliament decided that we have fixed 18 years as the age of consent, can they carve out an exception like this,” a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta had asked the Centre during the hearings.

“When you (government) recognise the age of consent to be 18 years for all purposes, then why this exception,” it had asked.

The government counsel had defended the exemption as something the Parliament had given due thought and consideration about.

During the hearing, the bench had referred to the aspect of child marriage and said that despite there being a law which held it illegal, the practice was still going on.

“Whether or not it (child marriage) is a social reality, for 70 years we have not been able to remove it,” the Bench had observed.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sex-with-minor-wife-is-rape-says-supreme-court/article19838085.ece

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Comment (1)

  1. K SHESHU BABU

    The supreme court has taken a positive step in delivering verdict on sex with child wife. It should also make child marriages an offence under the law.

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