Chronology of marital rape exception; Delhi HC delivers split verdict of its criminalization
New Delhi, May 11 PTI Following is the chronology of events on the marital rape exception in criminal law and the issue of its criminalization, on which the Delhi High Court Wednesday delivered a split verdict.
Following is the chronology of events on the marital rape exception in criminal law and the issue of its criminalization, on which the Delhi High Court Wednesday delivered a split verdict. *1860: Indian Penal Code (IPC) comes into force with the marital rape exception applying to women above 10 years of age.
*1940: IPC is amended and the marital rape exception is made available to women above 15 years of age.
*Jan 11, 2016: Delhi HC issues notice to Centre and seeks its stand on the first petition challenging marital rape exception in IPC. * Aug 29, 2017: Centre tells HC that marital rape cannot be made a criminal offense as it might destabilize the institution of marriage.
*Oct 11, 2017: Supreme Court reads down the marital rape exception and rules that sexual intercourse by a man with his wife, the wife not being under eighteen years of age, is not rape. Earlier, exception 2 to section 375 stated that sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.
* Jan 18, 2018: Delhi government tells HC marital rape is already an offense of cruelty under the law and a woman is entitled to refuse sexual relations with her husband.
*Jan 7, 2022: HC begins day-to-day hearings on the petitions seeking criminalization of marital rape.
*Jan 13: Centre tells HC it is "already seized of the matter" and was considering a "constructive approach" to the issue of criminalizing marital rape and has sought suggestions from stakeholders including state governments and union territories.
*Jan 17: HC asks Centre to clarify its in-principle position after time is sought to formulate and place its "considered stand".
*Jan 24: Centre urged before HC to grant it a "reasonable time" to place its position, says criminalization of marital rape involves issues that cannot be looked at from a "microscopic angle''.
*Jan 28: HC asks Centre to inform whether it wishes to withdraw its 2017 affidavit which said that marital rape cannot be made a criminal offense.
*Feb 1: Centre tells HC it is "re-looking" at its earlier stand which was brought on record by way of an affidavit filed several years ago and sought time to state its stand.
*Feb 3: Centre urges HC to defer hearing on pleas to criminalize marital rape and said it will provide a time-bound schedule within which it will carry out an effective consultative process on the issue.
*Feb 7: HC grants two weeks to the Centre to state its stand on the petitions.
* Feb 21: HC reserves verdict on petitions, refuses to grant more time to Centre saying it was not possible to adjourn an ongoing matter as there is no definite date by when the government's consultations would be over on the issue.
* May 11: HC delivers a split verdict on the issue of criminalization of marital rape and granted leave to the parties to file an appeal before the Supreme Court.
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