To Criminalise Or Not—Delhi HC In A Fix Over 'Marital Rape'

Representational Photo

New Delhi- The Centre is likely to inform the Delhi High Court on Monday whether it wishes to withdraw its earlier affidavit in which it had submitted that marital rape cannot be made a criminal offence as it could become a phenomenon that may destabilise the institution of marriage and an easy tool for harassing husbands.

A bench of Justices Rajiv Shakdher and C Hari Shankar, on January 28, had asked the Centre’s counsel to take instructions on whether it wants to withdraw its 2017 affidavit.

The bench, which has been conducting marathon hearings on a batch of petitions seeking criminalisation of marital rape, will also hear rejoinder submissions on behalf of petitioners on Monday.

Advocate Karuna Nundy, representing petitioner NGOs RIT Foundation and All India Democratic Women’s Association, has sought clarification as to whether she shall address the written submissions and affidavits filed by the central government so far or they are withdrawing it.

This assumes significance as the Centre, in its affidavit filed in August 2017, had said the Supreme Court and various high courts have already observed the rising misuse of Section 498A (harassment caused to a married woman by her husband and in-laws) of the IPC.

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