Sex With A Minor Wife Declared As Rape By Indian Supreme Court

Sex With A Minor Wife Declared As Rape By Indian Supreme Court

On Wednesday, the Indian apex court ruled sex with a minor, even if the couple is married, as rape. The rule is a breakthrough in Indian rape laws as many perpetrators had previously escaped from punishment on grounds of being married to the victim.

The legal age of marriage in India is eighteen, but in many rural areas, girls are forced into marriage due to poverty and poor conditions of living. The parents are bound to marry off their daughters to attain financial security. Previously the law had excluded non-consensual intercourse with a minor if the act took place within marriage. However, henceforth such instances will be charged under the offence of rape.

The lawyer who petitioned the case, Vikram Srivastava, was pleased with the ruling and said that this would provide protection to minor victims.

“The judgement today in two lines says that if anyone now marries a girl child below the age of 18 years and if the girl complains within a year of sexual intercourse, then that person can be prosecuted for rape,” he said in comments broadcast on the NDTV news network.

“(Child marriage) is prohibited, but we all know the number of children who are married below the age of 18 years.”

While the verdict is a breakthrough in Indian rape laws, it is receiving some challenge from various fronts in Indian courts. The government has said it opposes criminalizing marital rape as this would damage the institution of marriage.

 

Maneha Tariq

The writer is a graduate of Lahore Grammar School Defence and is currently pursuing the LLB degree from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). She has previously worked for DIL organization (Developments in Literacy) as their New York correspondent and for Paperazzi Magazine as a summer intern.



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