Marital rape cannot be considered an offence if the wife is aged between 15 and 18 said the Supreme Court in its ruling on Wednesday that the forced intercourse and sexual acts cannot be considered as a criminal act. However, the apex court sought to know if Parliament debated on protecting the aspect of married girls between the age group of 15-18 years from forced intercourse by their husbands.

“Parliament has extensively debated the issue of marital rape and considered that it was not an offence of rape. Therefore, it cannot be considered as a criminal offence”, said a bench of Judges M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta which was hearing a plea on the validity of a provision which allows a man to have a physical relationship with his wife even when she is aged between 15 and 18.

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“There are cases when college-going teens, below 18 years of age, engage in sexual activities consensually and get booked under the law. Who is going to suffer? The boy is not at fault. The punishment of seven years is too harsh,” the bench said.

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The bench told that it has asked the Centre to inform the number of prosecutions under the Child Marriage Act for past three years in three weeks. It added that a similar problem arises if a girl under 18 years engages in a consensual sex then in such cases it is the boy who gets booked for the rape. Meanwhile, the centre on Wednesday defended the apex court’s decision and stated that the exception in rape law was meant to protect the institution of marriage.

(Source: PTI)

 

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