HC seeks Centre's response on "inconsistency" in rape law

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New Delhi, Jul 20: The Delhi High Court today sought response of the Ministry of Law and Justice on a plea which claimed that "inconsistency" has crept in through the amended rape law which protects a husband from prosecution for the offence of unnatural sex with his wife.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal also sought the response of the Delhi government on the plea which alleged that amendment made in 2013 in section 375 (rape) of IPC was "incorrect" and "inconsistent" with section 377 (unnatural sex) of IPC.

Rape law: HC seeks Centre's response

The petition has raised a legal issue alleging that there is "uncertainty" in the two penal provisions of IPC as section 375 IPC has an exception that "sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape".

The petition, filed through advocates Amit Kumar and Anand Ranjan, claimed that the existing penal law was not certain as the act of sexual offence which was punishable under section 377 of IPC was non-penal under section 375, if committed by the husband.

"The legal issue raised by the petitioner deserves to be settled/determined by this court in the interest of public at large as the said uncertain/unsettled position of law has been infringing the respective rights of the husband and wife," it said. It claimed that the alleged act of husband being penal at one place and non-penal at other place in IPC has made the penal law inconsistent.

The bench has sought response of the ministry and the Delhi government by August 29, the next date of hearing.

The petitioner, who is facing trial for alleged offence of unnatural sex on the complaint by his wife, has said that his prosecution under section 377 IPC was contrary to the existing law as his purported act was protected under section 375 of IPC and the unsettled position of law infringes his rights.

In 2013, the man had married the 20-year-old girl who later lodged an FIR against him for alleged offences of rape and unnatural offence.

The trial court had discharged him for the alleged offence of rape but he was put on trial on the charge of committing unnatural sex with his wife. The man was granted bail by high court in January 2015.

PTI 

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