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Delhi High Court rejects PIL seeking marital rape be made criminal offence

A bench headed by Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice RS Endlaw dismissed as withdrawn the plea of an NGO highlighting the exception in Section 375 of the IPC which states that sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife who is not being under 15 years of age, is not rape.

Press Trust Of India

Updated:February 18, 2015, 8:47 PM IST
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Delhi High Court rejects PIL seeking marital rape be made criminal offence
A bench headed by Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice RS Endlaw dismissed as withdrawn the plea of an NGO highlighting the exception in Section 375 of the IPC which states that sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife who is not being under 15 years of age, is not rape.

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to entertain a PIL challenging a provision in the penal law which does not consider rape as the sexual intercourse of a man with his wife who is a minor noting that a similar matter has been junked by the apex court.

A bench headed by Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice RS Endlaw dismissed as withdrawn the plea of an NGO highlighting the exception in Section 375 of the IPC which states that sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape.

"Similar matter has been dismissed by the Supreme Court. We don't see anything into this petition," the bench said after which the NGO withdrew its plea.

Rit Foundation had submitted that the exception in section 375 was brought by way of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 2013, which was enacted after the horrific gangrape case of December 16, 2012.

In its petition, it had claimed that the exception to Section 375 of the IPC was to the extent that it grants immunity to a husband by raping his own wife, who is above age of 15 years, was unconstitutional.

It submitted that the exception was "unconstitutional and violative of the Right to Equality guaranteed to married women under Article 14 of the Constitution as it decriminalises rape when the perpetrator is the lawfully wedded husband of the victim."

It had said that even though the law made a distinction between married and unmarried woman in this case, the basis of distinction does not have any rational nexus with the object sought to be achieved by the law, which is to protect women from sexual assault.

The petition had also stated that marital rape has been criminalised in almost all major common law jurisdictions throughout the world, including in the US, the UK, South Africa and Canada.

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