10/11/2017, 12.21
INDIA

Sex with a child bride is rape, says Supreme Court

The sentence was pronounced today. The bench of Justices does not want to address into the aspect of marital rape. Child marriages are already forbidden by the law, but the tradition continues unchanged in the villages.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - The Supreme Court of India ruled that sexual intercourse with wives who are still minors will be considered to be rape. The verdict was issued today. The court had agreed with NGO Independent Thought, which filed the petition challenging the exception, on how when sexual intercourse with a minor aged below 18 amounts to rape under Indian Penal Code (IPC), it is not so once she is married.

The judgment overturns Section 375 (rape) of the IPC, which allows a husband to have sexual relationship with his 15-year-old wife, with or without her consent. The Bench had said that it did not want to delve into the issue of marital rape, because it is a Parliamentary legal matter.

Observers affirm that the decision was presented to the public as a landmark judgment. But it will not have effects on the phenomenon of child marriages, very common in India and already forbidden by the law. The legal age for marriage is 18 for women, 21 for men, according to the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA) of 2006. The PCMA establishes punishments for those who do not prevent child marriages and creates Child Marriage Prohibition Officers. In facts, the practice of child brides is still widespread, especially in rural villages.  “Whether or not it (child marriage) is a social reality, for 70 years we have not been able to remove it,” the Bench had admitted.

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