Marital Rape

With reference to the marital rape, consider the following statements:

1. Section 375 of the IPC says forcible sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being 18 years, is not rape.
2. Recently the age of marriage being raised for women to 21 years to make it equal to that of men.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: Both 1 and 2

Explanation:  At a consultation organised by the National Commission for Women on amendments to criminal law, there was unanimity among speakers that marital rape should be criminalised.

After the discussions, The NCW will send the recommendations to the Ministry of Home Affairs, which is looking at a review of the criminal laws, including the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

The meeting comes at a time the Delhi High Court is hearing multiple petitions on making marital rape an offence and the Centre has sought more time to present its stand.

The petitions have sought striking down the exception to Section 375 of the IPC, which says forcible sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being 18 years, is not rape.

The meeting also discussed the interpretation of consent. There should be a broader understanding of when consent stands vitiated.

Other issues

On the issue of age of marriage being raised for women to 21 years to make it equal to that of men, most speakers agreed that 18 years should be the age of marriage for both men and women.

The meeting also discussed the need for gender-neutral anti-rape laws which the civil society has demanded to recognise same-sex assaults among gay, lesbian and bisexual people as well as sexual crimes against transgender persons.

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