Sex with wife below 18 amounts to rape: Supreme Court

Written By:
Subscribe to Oneindia News
Supreme Court directs having $ex with a Minor wife amounts to rape | Oneindia News

The Supreme Court has held that having sex with a wife below the age of 18 amounts to rape. The court said that since sex with a minor wife amounts to rape, it amounts to a crime. The court however did not rule on marital rape.

The court had reserved its verdict on a plea challenging the validity of an exception clause in the rape law that permits intercourse or sexual act by a man with his wife, not below 15 years. The court while delivering the verdict read down exception 2 of Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code.

Sex with wife below 18 amounts to rape: Supreme Court

The two-judge bench said that sexual intercourse with a wife between 15 and 18 will amount to rape. The verdict would however not have a retrospective effect.

If a man has sexual intercourse with a wife who is below 18 years, it is an offence. The minor wife can complain against the husband within one year," the court said.

Section 375 of the IPC, which defines the offence of rape, has an exception clause that says intercourse or sexual act by a man with his wife, not below 15 years, is not rape. However, the age of consent is 18 years.

The petitioners had sought a direction to declare exception 2 to Section 375 of IPC as "violative of Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution to the extent that it permits intrusive sexual intercourse with a girl child aged between 15 and 18 years, only on the ground that she has been married."

One of the petitioners had argued that the exception to section 375 of the IPC was defeating the purpose of Prohibition of Child Marriage Act and was also in violation of international conventions to which India was a signatory.

They have also referred to the provisions of the POCSO Act and said these were contrary to the IPC provision.

A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur had on September 6 reserved its order on the plea while questioning the Centre how Parliament could create an exception in law declaring that intercourse or a sexual act by a man with his wife, aged between 15 and less than 18 years, is not rape when the age of consent is 18.

The court had said it did not want to go into the aspect of marital rape, but when the age of consent was 18 years for "all purposes", why was such an exception made in the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The Centre's counsel had said if this exception under the IPC goes, then it would open up the arena of marital rape which does not exist in India. He had referred to the concept of age of puberty among Muslims for the purpose of marriage and said these aspects have been deliberated upon by Parliament before arriving at a conclusion.

The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA), 2006 defines any male under the age of 21 years of age and female under the age of 18 years of age as 'child' and deems a marriage of children below the prescribed age illegal.

OneIndia News

Please Wait while comments are loading...