New Delhi: Supreme Court has asked the Centre to file its response on the issue of marital rape while hearing the pleas relating to Delhi High Court’s split verdict and Karanataka High Court’s landmark decision in the matter. The government has to submit a response by February 15. The final hearing on the pleas would commence on March 21.
A bench comprising CJI DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha and Justice JB Pardiwala was hearing pleas on the criminalisation of marital rape. The pleas included the one filed by Khushboo Saifi, who was one of the petitioners before the Delhi HC. The High Court on May 11 delivered a split verdict where Justice Rajiv Shakdher favoured removing the marital rape exception from the law and called it ‘unconstitutional’.
Another plea was filed by a man against the Karnataka HC verdict which allowed prosecution for allegedly raping a married woman. The High Court on March 23, said exempting a husband from allegations of rape and unnatural sex with his wife violates Article 14 of the Constitution.
Earlier this month, a bench comprising CJI DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha issued a notice in a petition challenging the validity of the marital rape exception. CJI also stated that the validity of the exception is to be tested with reference to Article 14.
What does Section 375 IPC (rape) say about marital rape?
Section 375 of the IPC deals with the criminalisation of rape in the country while listing down some exceptions, including marital rape. The exception states, “Sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.”