‘Social impact will be visible if marital rape is included in the category of crime’, government tells Supreme Court

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The Central Government on Friday (September 22) told the Supreme Court that the issue of declaring marital rape a crime will have social implications. Along with this, the petitioners in the case also pressed for early hearing of the case which has been waiting for decision for more than a year.

Advocate Karuna Nandy mentioned the matter seeking a date for listing before Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dhananjay Y Chandrachud. At the same time, the CJI replied that the court can hear the case after disposing of several cases of the Constitution bench headed by him. “We will list it in mid-October and see what is the position of the Constitution benches by that time,” he said.

Center asked for two days’ time

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta requested the CJI to give two days’ time to the Center to argue the matter whenever it is listed. “It will have social implications,” he said. Nandy said the petitioners would need three days to present their arguments.

In July, the Supreme Court had said it had to decide on petitions regarding the validity of the husband’s exemption from marital rape. After the hearing of the case related to removal of Article 370 was completed in August, it was agreed to list the case after hearing in the Constitution Bench. However, after the Article 370 hearing, the Constitution bench of the CJI listed new cases, which further delayed the marital rape case.

The court is yet to resolve the challenge to Exception 2 to Section 375 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). While Justice Shakdhar declared the provision making an exception for marital rape unconstitutional, Justice Shankar upheld it.

Meanwhile, on March 22, 2022, Justice M Nagaprasanna of the Karnataka High Court refused to quash rape charges against a man accused of raping his wife and keeping his wife as a sex slave.

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