Sex With Wife Aged Under 18 Years To Be Considered Rape: SC

Sex With Wife Aged Under 18 Years To Be Considered Rape: SC

Sex With Wife Aged Under 18 Years To Be Considered Rape: SC

The Supreme Court will on Wednesday pronounce its verdict on whether or not an exception to rape, sanctioned by the Indian Penal Code, that allows a man to have sexual intercourse with his wife aged above 15 is valid.

The order also comes at a time when the court is hearing petitions calling for marital rape to be declared a crime.

On September 6, the top court had reserved its verdict on a plea seeking clarification if a man's physical relation with his wife below 18 years of age amounts to rape or not.

The announcement comes a few days after the SC, in a bid to protect the interest of brides younger than 18 (the legal age for marriage), ruled that sexual intercourse between a man and his minor wife can not be considered a criminal act.

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The Supreme Court clarified that it had not ruled on marital rape. "Parliament can not permit the exploitation [in the name of marriage] of a girl child simply because some girls are married at an age less than 18 years".

A Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta said the exception was "arbitrary, discriminatory and capricious". "Hence, criminalising the consummation of a marriage with such a serious offence such as rape would not be appropriate and practical", the Centre had said.

"Courts and police can not monitor people's bedrooms and a minor girl who is already married, nearly always with the consent of her parents, will not usually have the courage to go to the police or court and file a case against her husband".

The Supreme Court today asked states to act againt child marriages.

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"The exception in rape law under the IPC is contrary to other statutes, violates bodily integrity of girl child", the bench said. The petition filed by Independent Thought, a human right organisation, had argued that there was a conflict in the law for sex with underage girls and with girls who are married.

Justice Gupta said the exception carved out in Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code was violative of Article 14, ArticLe 15 and Article 21 of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court said that it can not turn a blind eye to girl child trafficking and asked the state to take steps to prevent child marriages.

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