New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear petitions challenging the marital rape exception in the Indian Penal Code on March 21, 2023.
LiveLaw has reported that a bench of Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, and Justices P.S. Narasimha and J.B. Pardiwala will hear the pleas.
Among pleas are those challenging the split verdict of the Delhi high court and one challenging a Karnataka high court judgment sustaining charges against a husband under Section 376 of the IPC for alleged marital rape of his wife.
The Delhi high court had in May last year delivered a split verdict, with one of the judges favouring striking down the exception in the law that grants protection to husbands from being prosecuted for non-consensual sexual intercourse with their wives and the other refusing to hold it unconstitutional.
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.
On the Delhi high court’s split verdict, the Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta suggested that the apex court ask a third judge to decide the matter. CJI Chandrachud disagreed as both the opposing views were before the apex court. He then asked the SG if the Union government wanted to file counter-affidavits on this.
“The central government has asked the States for their views. Apart from legal ramifications, it also has social ramifications,” SG Mehta said.
The Supreme Court granted the Union government till February 15 to file the counter affidavit.
In September last year, the Supreme Court ruled that all women, married or not, are entitled to have safe and legal abortions until 24 weeks of pregnancy under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (ACT). While delivering the judgment, the bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, J.B. Pardiwala and A.S. Bopanna also held that, under the ambit of the Act, the term “rape” would also include marital rape.