Appeal Filed In SC Against Delhi HC’s Marital Rape Split Verdict

Story Highlights
  • Justice Rajiv Shakdher said the exception in rape laws that insulates husbands is violative of the Constitution.
  • Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code decriminalises marital rape and mandates that sexual intercourse by a man with his wife aged above 18 is not rape.
  • Khushboo Saifi moved the appeal through her counsel days after the high court last week gave the verdict.

New Delhi: Following the Delhi High Court last week delivering a split verdict on pleas seeking to criminalise marital rape and granting leave to the parties to file an appeal before the apex court, plea has been moved in Supreme Court challenging the split verdict on Tuesday.

It is important to note that a two judge bench of Delhi High Court pronounced a split verdict on an issue relating to criminalizing marital rape. Justice Rajiv Shakdher ruled in favour of criminalising, while Justice Hari Shankar disagreed.

While Justice Shakdher, who headed the division bench, favoured striking down the marital rape exception, Justice Shankar stated the exception under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) is not unconstitutional and was based on an intelligible differentia. The petitioners had challenged the constitutionality of the marital rape exception under Section 375 IPC (rape) on the ground that it discriminated against married women who are sexually assaulted by their husbands.

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. The court was hearing a batch of petition including by the NGOs RIT Foundation and All India Democratic Women’s Association who have challenged an exception to section 375 to the IPC.

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