Centre should respond to split verdict on marital rape: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has today asked the Central government to respond to an appeal against the split verdict of the Delhi High Court on the validity of Exception 2 to Section 375 of Indian Penal Code.

A bench of Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice  BV Nagarathna issued notice in the plea challenging the Exception 2 to Section 375 which says that rape charges cannot be attracted against a man who has non-consensual sex with his wife.

This exception has already been challenged before the High Court, as well as the Division Bench comprising Justice Rajiv Shakdher and Justice C Hari Shankar, who gave a split verdict in the case.

During the hearing, Justice Shakdher had called the provision unconstitutional and said that a husband having intercourse with his wife without consent are violative of Article 14 and are, therefore, struck it down.

Justice Shankar said, "I do not agree. There is no support to show that impugned exception violates Articles 14, 19 or 21. There is an intelligible differentia. I am of the view that the challenge cannot sustain."

The appellant had supported the verdict of Justice Rajiv Shakdher and challenged the opinion of Justice Hari Shankar.