After much debate, SC passes landmark verdict: 'Sex with minor wife is rape'

First Published 11, Oct 2017, 11:24 AM IST
After much debate SC passes landmark verdict Sex with minor wife is rape
Highlights
  • There are close to 2.3 crore child brides in India.
  • Supreme Court said today, sex or intercourse between a man and an underage minor wife between the age of 15 and 18, would be considered rape, if the woman files a complaint within a year.
  • The verdict quashed the government's plea to non-criminalise marital rape as it would hurt the institution of marriage.

In a landmark judgement by the Supreme Court today, sex or intercourse between a man and an underage minor wife between the age of 15 and 18, has been considered rape, only if the woman files a complaint within a year. This is the outcome of the court hearings, following petitions calling for marital rape to be declared a crime and the debate over the age of consent. 

Ironically, in India, the age for getting married and the child marriage laws contradict each other. While the age for marriage has been set at 18 when a woman is considered an adult by the constitution, Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code says sex with a girl who is below 18 is rape. However, that too had an exception, which said that sexual intercourse by a man with his wife, who is 15 or above, is not rape even if it is without her consent. The court specifically said, "Exception 2 in Section 375 of IPC (Indian Penal Code) granting protection to husband is violative of constitution and fundamental rights of minor bride." This upholds the rights of 2.3 crore child brides in the country.

Finally, today the court read out a verdict that received applause from various quarters. This, in fact quashed the government's plea to non-criminalise marital rape as it would hurt the institution of marriage. As per the National Family Health Survey, 46% of women between the ages of 18-29 years were married before the age of 18. 


 

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