A victim of marital rape has also joined the petition as an intervener. The petitions have sought that marital rape should be classified as a crime and the accused should be punished accordingly.
According to the affidavit filed in the court, the government said, "Marital rape in India can not be criminalized as India has its own unique set of problems like literacy, lack of financial empowerment of the majority of females, mindset of the society, vast diversity, poverty, etc".
"There will be more husbands in the jail, than in the house", Kaushal had commented with a link to a LiveLaw.com story on the court hearing. "As to what constitutes marital rape and what would constitute marital non-rape needs to be defined precisely before a view on its criminalization is taken", it said.
An NGO representing men victimised by misuse of gender laws has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court (HC), opposing several petitions that seek making marital rape a criminal offence.A Bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar allowed the intervention application by the NGO, Men Welfare Trust, and said it will be heard on Tuesday.
The exception clause in the law was brought by way of an amendment in 2013, as more stringent rape laws were framed months after the brutal gangrape of a medical student in a moving bus on December 16, 2012.
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The affidavit was filed on a plea by an NGO, RTI Foundation, seeking to strike down the exception under Section 375 (rape) of the IPC which does not penalize sexual intercourse between a man and his wife if she is over 15 years of age.
Mooeover, the government asked as to what evidences the courts would rely upon in such circumstances because there could be no lasting evidence in case of sexual acts between a man and his wife.
Marital rape (or spousal rape) is an act in which one of the spouses indulges in sexual intercourse without the consent of the other.
"There is nothing like marital rape". The Centre has instead advocated the need for "moral and social awareness" to stop such an act.
The Centre, in its submission to the Delhi High court, stated that the judgment as to whether a sexual act is a marital rape or not will entirely rest with the wife. "This country has its own unique problems due to various factors like literacy, lack of financial empowerment of the majority of females, mindset of the society, vast diversity, poverty, etc., and these should be considered carefully before criminalising marital rape", it states. Section 375, which defines "rape", also contains the exception provision which states that the rape law would not apply to assault or sexual intercourse by a husband with his wife over 15 years of age.
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