The Gujarat High Court has issued notices to the state and Centre in response to a PIL challenging the constitutional validity of marital rape.
The PIL has challenged the section 375(2) of IPC which exonerates a husband from punishment of rape for forcible physical relations with his legally wedded wife without her consent.
The petition is filed by Jaideep Verma, where he has challenged the exception given to men under section 375, which creates artificial distinctions on rights conferred on women to file a criminal complaint and also takes away their fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution.
Verma has stated that the sub section 2 of 375 violates the sexual autonomy of women, where has been defined that sexual intercourse or sexual act by a man with his wife, with the wife not being under 15 year of age, is not rape.
“This violates right to live with dignity, right to refuse, right to reproductive choices, right to privacy etc. It also creates artificial distinction in that if the women can file complaint against husband in case of physical assault why it can’t be considered an offence like in case of rape, which is more serious,” states the PIL.
On Tuesday, the High Court issued notices to both the state as well as the central governments which are returnable on January 19.
The court observed that ”…it is high time that a writ court undertakes the exercise of considering, whether the exception-2 to section 375 of the IPC could be termed as manifestly arbitrary and makes a woman’s fundamental right to sexual autonomy subject to the whims of her husband”.