The Delhi High Court on Wednesday gave a split verdict on petitions seeking criminalisation of marital rape. While Justices Rajiv Shakdher struck down the Exception 2 that protects men, who have forced non-consensual intercourse with their wives, from criminal prosecution under Section 376 IPC, Justice C Hari Shankar disagreed saying that the exception doesn’t violate Article 14, 19 and 21.
The bench of justices Rajiv Shakdher and C Hari Shankar passed judgement on several petitions related to criminalisation of marital rape.
While Justice Shakdher, who headed the division bench, favoured striking down the marital rape exception, Justice Shankar stated the exception under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) is not unconstitutional and was based on an intelligible differentia.
The petitioners had challenged the constitutionality of the marital rape exception under Section 375 IPC (rape) on the ground that it discriminated against married women who are sexually assaulted by their husbands.
Under the exception given in Section 375 of the IPC, sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his wife, the wife not being minor, is not rape.The court was hearing a batch of petition including by the NGOs RIT Foundation and All India Democratic Women’s Association who have challenged an exception to section 375 to the IPC.