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Sex with minor wife is rape, rules Supreme Court

New Delhi, October 11 : The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that sexual intercourse with a minor wife would amount to rape. A Bench of Justice Madan Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta read down exception under Section 375 of the IPC that defines rape.
The Bench said the age of consent (which is 18 years) can’t be lowered.
A minor wife would have to file rape complaint within a year of the alleged crime, the top court said.
The ruling harmonises the definition of rape under the IPC with POCSO which treats sex with a minor as crime irrespective of her consent.
Ironically, child marriage is prohibited in India but such marriages, if solemnised, are not void. Child marriage is voidable at the instance of the minor who can exercise the option of repudiating it.
The court had already clarified that it was not dealing with marital rape in general, which women’s rights activists have been demanding to be declared a crime. The order came on a PIL filed by Independent Thought, an NGO, in 2013, demanding to declare Exception 2 to Section 375 of the IPC unconstitutional. The NGO had contended it violated Articles 14 (right to equality), 15 (right to non-discrimination) and 21 (right to live with human dignity) of the Constitution.

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