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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Law amended in Haryana: Sex with minor wife is rape

Under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), sexual intercourse between a man and his wife of 15 to 18 years of age does not amount to rape but under Section 6 of the POCSO Act, the offence amounts to rape. The apex court had declared that the POSCO Act, being a special law prevails over IPC.

By: Express News Service | Updated: March 4, 2020 6:36:14 pm
assam rape case, assam minor rape case, assam news, assam crime, northeast india, assam police, indian express The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Haryana Amendment Bill, 2020) was introduced by Women and Child Development Minister Kamlesh Dhanda. It was passed unanimously by the House. (Representational Image)

The Haryana Assembly Tuesday passed a Bill declaring child marriages as ‘void ab initio’ on the pattern of Karnataka, which had introduced such law almost two years back. The move comes more than a year after the Supreme Court criminalized sexual relations between a man and his minor wife.

The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Haryana Amendment Bill, 2020) was introduced by Women and Child Development Minister Kamlesh Dhanda. It was passed unanimously by the House.

The Bill seeks to amend Section 3 (I) of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.

As per the Bill, “The Apex Court reached a conclusion that the best solution has been found by the State of Karnataka – the State Legislature of Karnataka (in 2016) has inserted sub-section (1A) in Section 3 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 thereby declaring that henceforth every child marriage that is solemnized is void”.

Accordingly, any marital relationship between a man and a girl between the age of 15 and 18 years shall be void and it will make any sexual intercourse as an offence defined as rape under POCSO (protection of children from sexual offenses) Act, 2012.

Under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), sexual intercourse between a man and his wife of 15 to 18 years of age does not amount to rape but under Section 6 of the POCSO Act, the offence amounts to rape.

The apex court in October 2017 had declared that the POSCO Act, being a special law prevails over Indian Panel Code, 1860. The top court had also invalidated a provision (exception 2) of Section 375 of the IPC vide which the sexual intercourse between a man and his wife being a girl aged 15 to 18 years was not a rape.

After thorough consideration of both the legal provisions, the apex court came to the conclusion that the best solution in this regard has been found by the state of Karnataka. The Karnataka Legislature has included sub-section (1A) in Section-3 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, thereby declaring that henceforth every child marriage solemnised is void.

The relevant extract of the Karnataka amendment reads as follows: “(1A) Notwithstanding, anything contained in section 3 sub-section (1) of Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, every child marriage solemnized on or after the date of coming into force of the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Karnataka Amendment) Act, 2016 shall be void.”

The Supreme Court said that it would be appropriate for all-state legislatures to adopt the route taken by Karnataka to make child marriages void and to ensure that the intercourse between the girl child and her husband is punishable under the POCSO Act and the IPC. “Therefore, it was necessary to amend Section 3 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006,” Kamlesh Dhanda said.

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