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The Supreme Court bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta on Wednesday (September 6) completed hearing of arguments in the critical case of marital rape and reserved its judgment.

The case is about a plea filed by the NGO, Independent Thought, questioning the constitutionality of a provision permitting a man to have physical relationship with his wife even if she is aged between 15 and 18, without her consent. Terming this as marital rape, the NGO has challenged exception 2 to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code.

On Wednesday, senior advocate Rana Mukerjee, arguing for the Union of India, said: “The Law Commission’s 77th report makes a provision for the girl to report any sexual offence, directly to highest police authorities. From the 13th Law Commission report pertaining to consent to have sexual intercourse, a committee was formed which raised the age of consent from 16 to 18 years.

“A committee formed under Justice Verma, relied on this reference and recommended a compulsory age of 18 years to have sexual intercourse,” the counsel said. “Consideration of rape in marriages would weaken traditional family values in India, and that marriage presumes consent.”

The counsel asserted that 15 years to 18 years is a qualified age to have sexual intercourse. Even, Muslim Law recognises 15 years as the age of puberty.

That completed hearings.

India Legal Bureau

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