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Sex With Wife Aged Under 18 Years To Be Considered Rape: SC

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| October 11 , 2017 , 11:15 IST

The Supreme Court on Wednesday announced its verdict that having sexual intercourse with a wife who is below 18 years of age would be considered rape, provided that the woman files the complaint within a year of the incident.

Previously, the Supreme Court had been told by the centre that sexual intercourse with a minor wife could not be criminalised since the concept of child marriages is highly prevalent in the nation.

Earlier the legal mandate had said that 'sexual acts by a man with his own wife, not being under 15 years of age, is not rape'.

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The apex court directive comes at a time when the Supreme Court is hearing petitions for marital rape to be declared as a crime. Marital rape is defined as non-consensual sexual intercourse between married partners, but since the concerned parties are already married, the concept of 'consent' becomes murky.

In India, the rape and child marriage laws are conflicting with respect to the age of consent.

While Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code says that sex with a girl who is below the age of 18 years is considered rape, the same section comes with a rider that an exception is provided in the case of child marriage. If a man has sexual intercourse with his wife aged 15 years or above it would not be considered as rape.

Meanwhile, the government has told the court that it opposes criminalising marital rape as it would harm the institution of marriage.