oppn parties Sex With Wife Below 18 is Definitely Rape As Per Current Laws

News Snippets

  • Flipkart assures employees that there will be no job or salary cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Although it was obvious, but the government still clarifies that there is no need to switch off appliances and only lights need to be switched off on April 5 at 9pm after confusion in the minds of some people
  • PM Modi and President Trump decide "to deploy full strength of (Indo-US) partnership" to fight against COVID-19
  • 17 states have reported 1023 cases of coronavirus linked to the Tablighi Jamaat, which translates to 30% of all positive cases in India
  • The government says people should not use alcohol-based hand sanitizers before lighting diyas or candles on April 5
  • The railways say there is no certainty yet when services will resume after the lockdown and a final decision will be taken in the next few days
  • As coronavirus cases multiply in Assam, six north-east states seal their borders with the state
  • Power System Operation Corporation Ltd. (POCOSO) putting all systems and protocols in place at war-footing to ensure there is no grid failure due to reduction in demand on April 5 at 9 pm
  • Power ministry scotches rumours that the power grid might fail due to the 9-minute blackout called by PM Modi on Sunday, April 5
  • Centre asks people to wear home-made masks if it is absolutely essential for them to step out of homes
  • Centre asks states to allow licensed street vendors to sell essential items
  • 8000 samples were tested across India on April 2, but the government said that testing will be need-based and will not be used as a confidence-boosting measure
  • Air India operating special flights to fly passengers stuck in India since the lockdown
  • For the first time in history, Darjeeling loses first flush tea due to suspension of garden work for Covid-19 outbreak
  • Supreme Court asks journalists to be responsible and publish only the official version of news after it was brought to its notice that migrant exodus started after the 'fake' news that the lockdown will be extended to three months
Total count stands ar 3082 as India records 16 Covid-19 deaths, the highest in a single day
oppn parties
Sex With Wife Below 18 is Definitely Rape As Per Current Laws

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2017-10-16 21:29:02

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
It is a mockery of law to have the age of consent at 18 years and to allow 'husbands' to have sex with a child bride below that age. In fact, it is a failure of governance and legislature that people (I refuse to call 16 or 17 year olds children) are allowed to marry before the legal age of marriage which stands at 18 for girls and 21 for boys in India under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 (PCMA). The government argues that child marriage is a custom in many communities and is a reality that cannot be crushed in India. Then why keep the age of consent at 18 on moral grounds? The Supreme Court has done exceedingly well to point out to the government and the legislature that this is a situation that cannot continue and has ordered that a man having consensual sex even with his “legally” wedded wife below the age of consent is guilty of rape.

You will notice that I have put “legally” in inverted commas in the preceding sentence. This is because the legislature has all but legitimized child marriages by keeping a loophole in the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA), 1955 that says that girls below 18 but above 15 years of age can be married with the consent of their parents or guardians. Similarly, the age of boys is kept at 18 years. Hence, there is conflict in the provisions of the PCMA and the HMA. Further, the Muslim personal law allows child marriage and the MPLB is already up in arms over the Supreme Court ruling. This shows that the legislature is not seriously interested in preventing child marriages. Many communities have a self-imposed barrier where they keep the bride and the bridegroom away from each other till they reach puberty. In Bihar, for instance, the custom of the bridegroom taking away his wife from her parents' home is called "gauna," which happens some years after the child marriage. Sex between the married couple is allowed only after gauna. But this is not important as the time of gauna is decided by respective families and it can happen as soon as the girl starts having her menstrual periods (which in India can happen as early as her 11th birthday). What is important is that the HMA does not expressly ban child marriages.

The thing that needs to be done immediately is to do away with conflicting provisions in all related laws. The legislature has to first decide on the age of consent. Since more and more teenagers are experimenting with sex now, there is an urgent need to bring down the age of consent to 16. We cannot let our teenagers to be treated as criminals just because they answer to the call of their growing bodies. Instead, we should educate them about sex and its importance as a thing of joy and pleasure and to make them aware of the dangers associated with unprotected sex. Currently, society (and law) thinks any kind of sexual contact between unmarried boys and girls below 18, or with elders, is a crime. But the same is allowed even if the man is 50 years old and is married to a girl of 16 years with the consent of her parents.

Then, if the legislature chooses to keep the age of marriage as it stands now, it needs to amend the HMA and incorporate those limits in that Act. The Muslim society must be made to understand the importance of letting teenagers find their way in life before allowing them to marry. They should be asked to follow the provisions of the PCMA. All marriages of under legal age boys and girls should be prevented. Anyone having sex with anyone below the age of consent could then be punished with the crime of rape. The Supreme Court order must hasten changes in these laws if India is really interested in stopping child marriages and sexual harassment of children below the age of consent.