The Supreme court on Wednesday, October 11th declared that husband having sexual intercourse with minor wife,below 18 years must be considered as rape, despite consent. This judgement was welcomed by child and women rights activists who also opined that this will now act as a deterrent to parents who want to get their children married even before they become adults.
Marriages of minor girls below 18 years is a very common practise in India and this was a glaring example of violation of child rights which finally stands corrected.
“Child” is someone who is below 18 years of age
A girl child below the age of 18 cannot be treated as a commodity having no say over her body or someone who has no right to deny sexual intercourse to her husband, the Supreme Court said.
“Human rights of a girl child are very much alive and kicking whether she is married or not and deserve recognition and acceptance,”said a Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta observed.
An unmarried girl child can prosecute her rapist, but a married girl child aged between 15 and 18 could not even do that, Justice Lokur said, pointing out the injustice.
The court, however, refrained from dealing with the issue of marital rape of a woman aged above 18. This is another grey area which needs to be looked into.