The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the central government to examine the need to amend a colonial-era provision in the IPC that provides immunity to a man from being prosecuted for having sexual intercourse with his minor wife whereas Protection of Children of Sexual Offences (POCSO) prohibits such sexual relations.
An exception to Section 375 (rape) in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) grants immunity to a man for having sexual intercourse with his wife who is at least 15 years old. However, POCSO Act of 2012 makes sexual intercourse with minors an offence.
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A bench led by Chief Justice J S Khehar said they were not inclined to issue notice to the government but would like to send the PIL filed by NGO ‘Bachpan Bachao Andolan’ to the Centre to examine it.
“The Women and Child Development Ministry shall examine the same and take a call within four months,” the bench, also comprising Justices N V Ramana and D Y Chandrachud, said.
The NGO, through counsel Jagjit Singh Chhabra, contended there was an anomaly between the provisions of the IPC and POCSO Act as a child’s status till she attains the age of 18, otherwise guaranteed by the state, is being denied to her once she is forcibly or otherwise wed.