According to Supreme Court’s verdict dated October 11 states that sex with a wife who is under 18 years of age is rape and therefore a crime. In other words, sex with a minor wife can land the man in jail.
“Exception 2 in Section 375 of IPC (Indian Penal Code) granting protection to the husband is violative of the constitution and fundamental rights of the minor bride’, says Supreme Court.
As per reports, there are 2.3 crore child brides in the country. The Supreme Court upholds the verdict for safeguarding the interests of these innocent strata of the population.
How the Centre responded to the request?
The verdict was announced by Justice Madan B Lokur who had questioned the Centre on how could they could forge an exception in the law for girls below 18 years of age.
Centre, however, responded that in case there is the inclusion of this exception, a new concept will emerge in India legislature called Marital rape. Before SC’s verdict, Section 375 covered an exception which safeguarded a man from his wife, despite having sex, regardless of age.
“Economic and educational development in the country is still uneven and child marriages are still taking place. It has been therefore decided to retain the age of 15 years under Exception 2 so as to give protection to husband and wife against criminalising the sexual activity between them. It is also estimated that there are 23 million child brides in the country. Hence, criminalising the consummation of a marriage with such a serious offence such as rape would not be appropriate and practical,” the Centre said in a report.