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Delhi HC to pass verdict on marital rape criminalisation tomorrow

Google Oneindia News

New Delhi, May 10: The Delhi High Court will be passing verdict on Wednesday on a batch of pleas seeking the criminalisation of marital rape.

    Delhi High Court stands split on Marital Rape, case in Supreme Court |Oneindia News
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    A bench of Justices Rajiv Shakdher and C Hari Shankar had reserved its judgment on February 21 on the petitions seeking to strike down the exception granted to husbands under the Indian rape law after conducting marathon hearings on the issue.

    On February 7, the high court granted two weeks to the Centre to state its stand on the petitions seeking criminalisation of marital rape.

    However, the Centre again urged the court to grant more time which was refused by the bench on the ground that it was not possible to defer an ongoing matter endlessly.

    The Centre had filed an affidavit urging the court to defer hearing on the petitions, stating that criminalising marital rape has very far reaching socio-legal implications in the country and a meaningful consultative process with various stakeholders and state governments is needed.

    It had stated that the Centre was committed to protecting "the liberty, dignity, and rights of every woman who is the fundamental foundation and pillar of a civilised society" and any assistance by the government can be meaningful only after consultative process with the participation of all stakeholders.

    The affidavit had said the first petition was filed in 2015 and the provisions whose validity is challenged is in existence since inception and it was only because one of the petitioners suddenly mentioned the matter for final hearing during the pandemic, that the hearing has commenced leaving no time for the Centre to deliberate upon the issues and implications involved with all the stakeholders as the exercise takes a reasonable time.

    In its 2017 affidavit, the Centre had opposed the pleas submitting that marital rape cannot be made a criminal offence as it could become a phenomenon that may destabilise the institution of marriage and an easy tool for harassing husbands.

    However, the Centre told the court in January that it was "re-looking" at its earlier stand on the petitions as that was brought on record in the affidavit filed several years ago.

    The court had said that the central government needs to make up its mind with respect to its position on the issue and subsequently asked it to inform whether it wished to withdraw its earlier affidavit filed in the matter in view of its latest stand.

    It was hearing PILs filed by NGOs RIT Foundation, All India Democratic Women's Association, a man and a woman seeking striking down of the exception granted to husbands under the Indian rape law.

    The petitioners have challenged the Constitutionality of the marital rape exception under Section 375 IPC (rape) on the ground that it discriminated against married women who are sexually assaulted by their husbands.

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