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Sex with minor wife amounts to rape: SC

Oct 11, 2017 11:57 IST
Sex with minor wife amounts to rape

The Apex Court of Country Supreme Court struck down the provision of criminal law that legalized sex by a spouse with his minor wife between the age of 15 to 18 years in a child marriage case.

The Highlights of Ruling

The apex court said the exception in the rape law was contrary to the philosophy of other statutes and violates the bodily integrity of a girl child. The court also ruled that the exception given to this is violative of Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution.

The decision came in the light of Section 375 of the Indian Panel Code which states that sex with a girl less than 18 is Rape. But, it made an exception on the subject of sex with minor wife by the husband in child marriage cases.

A bench of Justice Justice Deepak Gupta and Madan B. Lokur in separate but concurring judgements ruled that the exception under section 375 of the IPC was "arbitrary, discriminatory and capricious" as the age of marriage was 18 in all laws.

The bench also expressed apprehension over the rampant practice of child marriage in the country and said social justice laws were not executed with the character with which they have been enacted by Parliament.

The Court said that the husband is liable to be prosecuted if the woman files a complaint within one year of the sexual act.

The court also made it clear that this ruling will not have retrospective effect.

Not a Marital rape ruling

This landmark verdict came at a time when the Supreme court is already hearing petitions calling for marital rape to be declared crime and a public discourse over the age of consent. The bench made it clear that it has not dealt with the concern of marital rape as it was not raised before it by respective parties. However, this decision would have a prospective effect on that.

It asked the Centre and the states to take proactive steps to prohibit child marriage across the country.

 

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