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Sex with minor wife not rape : SC prosecutes NCW on rape law exception

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source: kolkata24x7.com

By NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi:  The Supreme Court prosecuted the National Commission for Women (NCW) on Friday in the hearing of a petition challenging the constitutional validity of a rape law exception that says sexual intercourse with a wife not less than 15 years of age is not rape.

The public interest litigation (PIL) challenged the exception in Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code which says: “Sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape.”

Section 375 spells out six circumstances under which a man can be accused of committing a rape that includes sex without the consent of the woman or by putting her under some kind of pressure or fear.

However, it carves out an exception in case of a minor wife not less than 15 years.

While impleading the NCW as a party to the petition, the apex court social justice bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit told petitioner NGO Independent Thought: “You may be right that the IPC will not override the statute.”

Moved by the NGO’s founding member Vikram Srivastava, the PIL contended that the exception was in conflict with the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

Counsel for the PIL petitioner said the exception was also contrary to the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act.

five-year-girl

The PIL contended that the exception was a violation of Article 14 (equality before law), Article 15 (Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth) and Article 21 (Protection of life and personal liberty) of the Constitution to the extent that it permits intrusive sexual intercourse with a girl aged between 15 and 18 years on the ground that she has been married.

The petitioner NGO pointed to discrepancies in the law, referring to the provision of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which says: “No court shall take cognizance of an offence under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, where such offences consist of sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife being under 18 years of age, if more than one year has elapsed from the date of the commencement of the offence.”

This made Justice Lalit wonder about the “cognizance” for what you can’t punish.

“You can’t take cognizance of something that can’t be punished,” he said.

Admitting to the dichotomy in the statutory provisions and the exception, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench that there were 23 million child brides in India, and the parliament had this ground reality in view while making the exception.

(With inputs from IANS)

Next Story

Women of Pakistan Protest Against Workplace Harassment, Child Marriage

Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif lauded "the incredible work our women are doing to strengthen their families, communities and the country"

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Following this, a National Security Committee was also held to discuss Sharif's
Pakistan Flag, wikimedia commons

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, women took to the streets across Pakistan on Friday to protest against sexual harassment in the workplace, child marriage ‘honour killings, wage inequalities and limited political representation.

Organisers hope that the “aurat march” (women’s march) and “aurat azadi march” (women’s liberation march) will draw attention to the struggle for reproductive, economic, and social justice across in Pakistan, reports the Guardian.

The first “Aurat March” was held last year in Karachi; this time, the rally has been extended to more cities, including Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Larkana and Hyderabad.

The aim is to reach ordinary women in factories, homes and offices, says Nighat Dad, an “aurat march” organiser in Lahore.

“We want an organic movement by women demanding equal access to justice and ending discrimination of all kinds.”

Speakers at the Lahore march ranged from a woman fighting to reform marriage laws to the women who worked on the landmark Punjab Domestic Workers’ Act — a legislation that outlaws child labour in homes and provides maternity benefits to workers.

Another activist, Leena Ghani, noted that Pakistani women have a history of taking to the streets, famously during military dictator Zia ul-Haq’s martial law in the 1980s.

Krishna Kumari works in her office in Hyderabad, Pakistan, Feb. 12, 2018. VOA

While Pakistan has made major strides towards gender equality, poorer, marginalised women and transgender citizens continue to struggle, Ghani added.

Designer Shehzil Malik created a series of striking posters for the “aurat march” that counter typical representations of Pakistani women as docile and subservient.

Women are also protesting against discriminatory policies in universities, where male and female students are afforded different levels of freedom, the Guardian said.

A Pakistani university recently caused a furore on social media by banning women from wearing skinny jeans and sleeveless shirts.

Also Read- Originality is a Dichotomous Terminology, Says Megastar Amitabh Bachchan

In his message on Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan reaffirmed his government’s commitment to providing women a safe environment so that they could contribute to the country’s development, Dawn news reported.

“We reaffirm our commitment to ensuring women a secure and enabling environment to play their rightful role in our nation’s development.”

Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif lauded “the incredible work our women are doing to strengthen their families, communities and the country”. (IANS)