India Rules Sex With a Child Bride Is Always Rape in a Massive Win for Girls’ Rights

March 25, 2018

Supreme Court has struck down a legal clause that permits men to have sex with
their underage wives.

clause, which was part of India’s law on rape, said intercourse between a man
and his wife was permissible as long as she was over 15 years of age.
The legal
age of consent and marriage in India is 18 but marital rape is not considered
an offence.
verdict has been hailed by women’s rights activists but correspondents say the
order will be difficult to enforce.
judgement said that girls under 18 would be able to charge their husbands with
rape, as long as they complained within one year of being forced to have sexual
“This is
a landmark judgement that corrects a historical wrong against girls. How could
marriage be used as a criterion to discriminate against girls?” Vikram
Srivastava, the founder of Independent Thought, one of the main petitioners in
the case, told the BBC.
the BBC’s Geeta Pandey in Delhi says that while welcome, the order will be
difficult to implement in a country where child marriage is still rampant.
and police cannot monitor people’s bedrooms and a minor girl who is already
married, almost always with the consent of her parents, will not usually have
the courage to go to the police or court and file a case against her husband,”
our correspondent says.
government says the practice of child marriage is “an obstacle to nearly every
developmental goal: eradicating poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary
education; promoting gender equality; protecting children’s lives; and
improving women’s health”.