- The High Court has granted leave to parties to lodge an appeal before the apex court
- The petitioners had challenged the constitutionality of the marital rape exception under Section 375 IPC (rape)
- The marital rape case will now be referred to a three-judge bench
On Wednesday, the Delhi High Court pronounced a split verdict on pleas seeking to criminalise marital rape. The High Court has granted leave to parties to lodge an appeal before the apex court. The bench of justices Rajiv Shakdher and C Hari Shankar passed judgement on multiple petitions concerning the criminalisation of marital rape.
Justice Shakdher, who led the bench, favoured rejecting the marital rape exception. He noted, “The impugned provisions in so far as they concern a husband having intercourse with his wife without consent are volatile of Article 14 and are therefore struck down.” Meanwhile, Justice Shankar noted that the exception under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) is not unconstitutional and was considered on an intelligible differentia.
As per reports, the petitioners had challenged the constitutionality of the marital rape exception under Section 375 IPC (rape) on the ground that it is discriminated against married women who are sexually assaulted by their husbands. As per 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.
Due to the split verdict, the marital rape case will now be referred to a three-judge bench. The Delhi High Court was hearing a batch of petitions including those by the NGOs RIT Foundation and All India Democratic Women’s Association who have challenged an exception to section 375 to the IPC. Earlier, the bench of Justices Rajiv Shakdher and C Hari Shankar had reserved its judgement on 21 February 2022.