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6 Jan 2017

Apex court seeks govt opinion on rape law

TT, New Delhi, Jan. 5: The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to consider within four months a plea by an NGO to prosecute men for rape if they have sex with their minor "wives".
A bench headed by newly appointed Chief Justice J.S. Khehar, however, declined to issue a formal notice to the Centre on NGO Bachpan Bachao Aandolan's plea to scrap the immunity provided to husbands under the Indian Penal Code Section 375, saying it would wait for the government's response.
Under Section 375, which deals with rape, a man will not face criminal charges for having sexual intercourse with his "wife" if she a minor but is over 15 years of age. The marriageable age for women is 18 years and child marriage is a punishable offence.
Under the specially enacted Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Posco) Act, 2012, the rape of a woman below 18 years is punishable with up to a life term. The act covers crimes by "relatives" but does not lay down specifically if the term includes the husband.
According to Bachpan Bachao Aandolan, the immunity provided to husbands under IPC Section 375 is in contravention of the Posco Act, which also calls for action against an offender if he or she sexually abuses a child living in a shared household or is in a domestic relationship.

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