16 January, 2023 | Pragati Singh
The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to respond to petitions challenging the constitutionality of Exception 2 to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with marital rape. Sexu…
The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to respond to petitions challenging the constitutionality of Exception 2 to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with marital rape.
Sexual intercourse between a man and his wife is not rape, according to Exception 2 to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, unless the woman is under the age of 15. A bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud directed the Centre to file a response to the different petitions questioning the constitutionality of the exemption to marital rape.
Meanwhile, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the court that the concerns with the marital rape exemption would have societal repercussions, and that they had invited states to submit their views on the topic a few months ago. According to SG Mehta, the problem has both legal and social implications.
The case was rescheduled for a hearing in March.
Meanwhile, the court directed that the two nodal lawyers, Pooja Dhar and Jaikriti Jadeja, establish a single compilation of indexes and presentations on which reliance should be put, and instructed all counsel to engage with the two nodal counsel.
The court is dealing with various pleas relating to marital rape issues. One petition is against the Karnataka HC judgement, which declined to quash the charge of rape against a man accused of raping and keeping his wife as a sex slave.
Another petition has sought the striking down of Exception 2 to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, which immunes husband of criminal charges for non-consent sex with wife in a marital relationship. The petition was filed by one activist Ruth Manorama through advocate on record Ruchira Goel.
Earlier All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) among others has moved the Supreme Court against Delhi High Court’s split verdict on issue relating to criminalising marital rape matter.
Two- judges Bench of Delhi HC on May 12 2022 pronounced split verdict on issue relating to criminalising marital rape. Delhi HC’s Judge Justice Rajiv Shakdher rules in favour of criminalising while Justice Hari Shankar disagreed with the opinion and held that Exception 2 to Section 375 does not violate the Constitution as it is based on intelligible differences.
Counsel Karuna Nundy represented AIDWA, and the application was submitted through advocate Rahul Narayan.
In its petition, AIDWA stated that the provision for marital rape is damaging and contradicts the purpose of rape statutes, which plainly prohibit sexual conduct without permission. The privacy of a marriage is elevated above the rights of the woman in the marriage, according to the petition.
According to the petition, the Marital Rape Exception violates Articles 14, 19(1)(a), and 21 of the Constitution.