Child sex law ap­plies to wives

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - One World/caribbean Link -

NEW DELHI – In­dia’s top court yes­ter­day ruled that a man is com­mit­ting rape if he en­gages in sex­ual in­ter­course with his wife who is aged be­tween 15 and 18, a land­mark de­ci­sion that will af­fect mil­lions of child brides.

The le­gal age of con­sent is 18 years. The law re­gards even con­sen­sual sex with a woman un­der 16 as rape, but an ex­cep­tion had been made for in­ter­course be­tween a man and his wife who is be­tween 15 and 18.

Mar­i­tal rape is not a crime in In­dia, where the gov­ern­ment has said crim­i­nal­is­ing mar­i­tal rape could desta­balise mar­riages and make men vul­ner­a­ble to ha­rass­ment by their wives.

The Supreme Court ruled the age of con­sent was 18 for “all pur­poses” af­ter hear­ing a pe­ti­tion by In­de­pen­dent Thought, a non-profit group that sought to crim­i­nalise sex with un­der­aged wives.

“Sex­ual in­ter­course by a mar­ried man with their mi­nor wife be­low 18 years is rape,” the court said in its judg­ment, which was wel­comed by women’s rights cam­paign­ers.

“I am very happy with the supreme court judg­ment,” Vikram Sri­vas­tava, a lawyer for In­de­pen­dent Thought, told Reuters.

“The judg­ment gives a boost to the na­tional cam­paign of ‘Beti bachao and beti pad­hao,’” he added, us­ing a Hindi phrase mean­ing ‘Save the girl child and ed­u­cate the girl child’.

So­lic­i­tor Gen­eral P.S. Narasimha, who rep­re­sented the gov­ern­ment, de­clined to com­ment.

Yes­ter­day’s ver­dict would not be ap­plied ret­ro­spec­tively, how­ever, said the court, which based its con­clu­sions on In­dia’s Child Mar­riage Pro­hi­bi­tion Act. (Reuters)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Barbados

© PressReader. All rights reserved.