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May 11 Delhi High Court ruling on Marital Rape:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Separation of Powers.

 

Context:

Delhi High Court has (May 11) delivered a split verdict in a batch of petitions challenging the exception provided to marital rape in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) – Section 375.

 

Exception provided to marital rape in the Indian Penal Code (IPC):

Section 375 defines rape and lists seven notions of consent which, if vitiated, would constitute the offence of rape by a man.

  • However, the provision contains a exemption: “Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under eighteen years of age, is not rape.”

 

What’s the issue? What were the petitions against?

This exemption essentially allows a marital right to a husband who can with legal sanction exercise his right to consensual or non-consensual sex with his wife. This amounts to rape too.

  • It undermines consent of a woman based on her marital status.

 

What has the Court ruled?

Split Verdict:

  • Justice Rajiv Shakdher: The exception under Section 375 is unconstitutional.
  • Justice C Hari Shankar held that the provision is valid.

 

What happens when a split verdict is delivered?

In case of a split verdict, the case is heard by a larger Bench. This is why judges usually sit in Benches of odd numbers (three, five, seven, etc.) for important cases.

 

Marital Rape:

Section 375 of the IPC holds that “sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape”.

  • No other statute or law recognises marital rape.
  • Victims only have recourse to civil remedies provided under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

Can marital Rape be criminalised? Pros and Cons.

  • Reference: read this.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that the Ministry of Home Affairs constituted a committee to review criminal laws in the country in 2019?

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Section 375 of IPC.
  2. Exceptions.
  3. Supreme Court verdict.
  4. Laws in this regard.

Mains Link:

What is marital Rape? Why should it be criminalised? Discuss.

 

Q.2) Marital Rape is recognised by:

  1. Constitution of India.
  2. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
  3. Both.
  4. None of the above. 

Sources: Indian Express.