The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it will hear on May 9 a clutch of pleas in connection with the criminalisation of marital rape.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising mentioned the matter before a bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud. Jaising submitted before the court that common compilation and the order of arguments in the case is ready.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the Centre’s reply is ready and it has to be vetted, and added that he would argue the case for one-and-a-half days as it pertains to an important issue. The bench said, “List this on May 9, 2023”.
On January 16, the Supreme Court sought response from the central government on a clutch of petitions seeking criminalisation of marital rape.
The top court decided to take up the matter itself instead of letting different high courts take a call.
In May last year, after the Delhi High Court’s verdict that expressed ‘split views’ on criminalisation of marital rape, an appeal was moved in the Supreme Court challenging the exception to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code.
Also, in July last year, the top court had stayed the Karnataka High Court judgment, which allowed the trial of a husband for allegedly raping his wife. In May, the apex court had issued notice in the husband’s plea against the Karnataka High Court judgment, however, it had then refused to stay the high court’s judgment and trial proceedings. And, petitions have also been filed in the apex court seeking criminalisation of marital rape.
On May 11 last year, a high court bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher and Justice C. Hari Shankar expressed different opinions in the judgment on the exception to Section 375 of the IPC, which exempts forceful sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife from the offence of rape.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher supported striking down the contentious law stating that the exemption of the husband from the offence of marital rape is unconstitutional to which Justice Hari Shankar did not agree.
“The impugned provisions in so far as they concern a husband having intercourse with his wife without consent are violative of Article 14 and are therefore struckdown,” said Justice Shakder.