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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday delivered a split verdict on the criminalisation of marital rape. While Justice Rajiv Shakdher held the exception granted to husbands from the offence of rape as unconstitutional, Justice Hari Shankar disagreed. Justice Shakdher said that the provisions that grant an exception to husbands having intercourse with their wives without the latter’s consent are violative of Article 14 (right to equality) and should be struck down.
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday delivered a split verdict on the issue of criminalisation of marital rape and granted leave to the parties to file an appeal before the Supreme Court.
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While Justice Rajiv Shakdher, who headed the division bench, favoured striking down the marital rape exception, Justice C Hari Shankar said the exception under the IPC is not unconstitutional and was based on an intelligible differentia.
The petitioners had challenged the constitutionality of the marital rape exception under Section 375 IPC (rape) on the ground that it discriminated against married women who are sexually assaulted by their husbands.
Under the exception given in Section 375 of the IPC, sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his wife, the wife not being minor, is not rape.
Marital rape (also known as spousal rape) occurs when one spouse engages in sexual activity without the consent of the other.
The Delhi high court was hearing arguments from the RIT Foundation, the All India Democratic Women's Association, and two people who have sought the striking down of the exception in the Indian penal law that did not consider sexual intercourse with a wife, not less than 15 years of age, as rape.
It had previously approved two intervention applications, one supporting and the other opposing pleas to make marital rape a crime.
With inputs from PTI
First Published: May 11, 2022 4:40 PM IST