Marital rape is not penal offence, says Supreme Court

Vastavam web: The supreme court has delivered a clear cut  judgment on wife and husband relations and especially on intercourse issue. The raging issue whether to make forced marital intercourse and sexual acts part of offence of rape in penal law has been extensively debated and now it can’t be considered as a criminal act, the Supreme Court said. Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which defines the offence of rape, has an exception clause that says the intercourse or sexual act by a man with his wife, not below 15 years, is not a rape. The apex court, however, sought to know as to whether Parlia-ment debated the aspect of protecting married girls, between the age group of 15-18 years, from the forced sexual acts by their spouses. It also asked whether the court could intervene to protect the rights of such married girls who may be sexually exploited by their spouses.

“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,” a bench of justices M.B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta said. The apex court also said that marriage of a girl, who is below the age of 15 years, was “illegal”.