New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has refused to entertain a PIL challenging a provision in the penal law which does not consider as rape sexual intercourse of a man with his minor wife, noting that a similar matter is pending for consideration before the apex court.
"Since the Supreme Court is already seized with the issue, we are not inclined to entertain this writ petition. The same is disposed of," a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said.
The court's order came after Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, appearing for the Centre, informed the bench that the plea of an NGO highlighting the exception in Section 375 of the IPC which states that sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, who is not under 15 years of age, is not rape, is pending for consideration before the Supreme Court.
Rit Foundation in its PIL had contended that the exception in section 375 was brought by way of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 2013, which was enacted after the horrific gangrape case of December 16, 2012.
It had claimed that the exception to Section 375 of the IPC was to the extent that it grants immunity to a husband by raping his wife, who is above age of 15 years, was unconstitutional.
It had said that the exception was "unconstitutional and violative of the Right to Equality guaranteed to married women under Article 14 of the Constitution as it decriminalises rape when the perpetrator is the lawfully wedded husband of the victim".
The petition had also stated that marital rape has been criminalised in almost all major common law jurisdictions throughout the world, including in the US, the UK, South Africa and Canada.
"The criminalisation of marital rape was also recommended by Justice J S Verma Committee in 2013, however, government has desisted from paying any attention," it added.