Indian Supreme Court declares sex with underage wife as rape

  • Indian court did not rule about the merital rape
World

NEW DELHI – The Supreme Court of India ruled on Wednesday that sex with a wife who is under 18 years of age is rape and therefore a crime.

The verdict conditioned that for criminal proceedings the wife would file a report with police within a year while formally setting the age of consent at 18 for all girls.

The decree was issued after a petition was filed in the top court that called for the scrapping of a provision in the rape law that allowed a man to have sex with his underage wife even without consent.

“Exception 2 in Section 375 of IPC (Indian Penal Code) granting protection to husband is violative of the constitution and fundamental rights of minor bride’, ordered the Supreme Court.

Another aspect of the verdict is that it would be applicable to the couples getting married in the future without affecting the ones who are already married.

Defending the rape law exception, the government had told the court during an earlier hearing that India had 23 million child brides and criminalising the “consummation of the marriages” as rape would not be appropriate.

It bears mentioning that the judges made it clear they were not getting into the subject of marital rape, a petition for which was already pending.

With Wednesday’s verdict the age of consent is set at 18 for all girls, however, there’s no age restriction for boys.