The Delhi High Court has adjourned a petition seeking to criminalize marital rape. The next hearing of the case will be on December 4.

The public interest litigation wants the court to consider marital rape as a case of rape. It also wants the high court to create provisions of rape in a gender-neutral manner, TNIE reports.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had in a landmark verdict declared that intercourse with minor wife is rape. It ordered that such an act with a girl in the age group of 15-18 would also be considered as rape

The SC bench — comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta — gave a 127-page judgment in the case. It stated that while the ruling is positive, it doesn’t coincide with the larger issue of marital rape in general and requires separate deliberation by the apex court.

“Viewed from any perspective, there seems to be no reason to arbitrarily discriminate against a girl child who is married between 15 and 18 years of age. On the contrary, there is every reason to give a harmonious and purposive construction to the pro-child statutes to preserve and protect the human rights of the married girl child,” held the court in its verdict.

The court took into contention the fact that while child marriage is illegal, there still are several cases where parents marry their child at a young age due to social tradition and stigma.

“Surely, the Union of India cannot be oblivious to the existence of the trauma faced by a girl child who is married between 15 and 18 years of age or to the three pro-child statutes and other human rights obligations. That these facts and statutes have been overlooked confirms that the distinction is artificial and makes Exception 2 to Section 375 of the IPC all the more arbitrary and discriminatory,” added the bench.

ALSO READ: Centre Says It Cannot Criminalize Marital Rape


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