‘Can’t make marital rape an offence until talks end’: Centre to Delhi High Court

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New Delhi: The Union government has informed the Delhi high court that marital rape cannot be made into a criminal offence until the Centre’s consultation with all stakeholders is complete, paving the way for comprehensive amendments in criminal law instead of “piecemeal” changes.

Submitting a fresh affidavit in response to a clutch of petitions to criminalise marital rape, the Centre maintained that it is examining the issue of broad changes in criminal law of the country and that the petitioner could also give their suggestions to the competent authorities.

The affidavit, filed on Thursday, stated that the exception to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, which exempts forceful sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife from the offence of rape, cannot be struck down at the instance of the petitioner alone. “Principles of natural justice require larger hearing of all stakeholders,” emphasised the government.

The government’s petition indicates no change in its position — and comes amid a rising chorus seeking the criminalisation of marital rape.

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