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‘Marital rape’ of girls under 18 not criminalised due to social realities: Home ministry to Delhi HC

The MHA affidavit also stated that the issue of criminalising marital rape was being heard before a Supreme Court bench, where a PIL has been filed to strike down exception 2 to section 375.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: August 30, 2016 4:46 am

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has cited “social realities” as the reason for not criminalising ‘marital rape’ of girls under 18 years of age in the country.

“Although the age of consent is 18 years and child marriage is discouraged, marriage below permissible age is avoidable but not void on account of social realities. It is submitted that the social, economic and educational development of the country is still uneven and child marriages are taking place. It has been decided to retain the age of 15 years under the exception 2 of Section 375 so as to give protection to husband and wife against criminalising the sexual activity between them,” said an MHA affidavit filed before the Delhi High Court Monday.

Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) gives the legal definition of rape, which includes the provision that sexual activity with a girl less than 18 years of age would be defined as rape even if the accused claims that the girl had consented to the act. However, exception 2 to the provision states that “rape” would not be applicable if the sexual activity is done with a girl above 15 years of age if the man is married to the girl.

In a PIL, NGO RIT foundation, sought court directions to criminalise marital rape on the grounds that “Section 375 discriminates against married women sexually assaulted by their own husbands (and) is violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution”.

The MHA affidavit also stated that the issue of criminalising marital rape was being heard before a Supreme Court bench, where a PIL has been filed to strike down exception 2 to section 375. The court will hear the matter further on October 17.

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  1. K
    Aug 30, 2016 at 3:21 am
    The social realities can't change overnight and government's stand indicates the bitter truth. the improvement programs must continue.
    1. R
      Ravi Ranjan
      Aug 30, 2016 at 2:57 am
      The government stand is right.Feminists and woman activists by raising the issue of marital rape(which different from domestic violence) are trying to hit at roots of our family structure.
      1. J
        Aug 30, 2016 at 10:52 am
        Martial Rape and False Dowry Allegations is becoming a trend among the modern and independent women an evil hand to destroy the family , marriage, relationships and allowing them such freedom to enjoy blackmailing of innocent men and members of the family, it should be stopped by Supreme Court and Govt.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Law should be equal for both married men and women. lt;br/gt;Because marriage is always by consent (Love or arranged) not by force.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;So Govt has taken right decision and supreme court should also make strong regulations to stop these women from filing false cases and false peions. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;The rule of interim maintenance should also be revoked until the men is proven guilty because they are suffering from false divorce cases, filed to extract money by his wives family. Truth is always by proof .lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;The court should also make joint parenting for both man and women compulsory/mandatory until the child attains the age of 18 and no divorce should be allowed untill that time frame. So that such false divorce cases should come down in numbers. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Satyameva Jayate and whosoever is guilty should be punished for filing False Divorce / dowry /rape cases.
        1. U
          Aug 30, 2016 at 4:33 am
          so marital rape is permissible then?
          1. V
            VJ Singh
            Aug 30, 2016 at 2:25 am
            Social reality? The government should be ashamed of itself. Over three generations on, you can't even teach basic decency to citizens? It has taken a Kejriwal to rouse the nation towards cleanliness and a Modi to have it implemented. No woman politician of India has worked to give women rights. Shame.
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