The Centre has asked for a stipulated delay in the hearing of a batch of pleas seeking to criminalise marital rape, claiming that it needs more time to conduct an effective consultation process before making a decision.
The Government claims that a genuine consultation procedure involving stakeholders and other state governments is required since the matter cannot be handled only on the advice of a few lawyers.
The Union government has submitted a new affidavit in court, claiming that any decision in the issue without allowing the Centre to engage with the states would be unjust.
In 2015, the NGO RIT Foundation, the All India Democratic Women’s Association, and others launched a series of petitions aiming to overturn rape laws that discriminate against married women who have been sexually attacked by their husbands.
Exception 2 of Section 375 Indian Penal Code (IPC) decriminalises marital rape and mandates that sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape.
Given the societal effect, close familial relationships, and the court’s lack of knowledge of ground realities, a judgement based only on the arguments of a few attorneys may not serve the goals of justice, according to the Centre.