The Delhi High Court on Monday, 21 February, reserved its order in a batch of petitions challenging the exception to Section 375, which exempts forced sexual intercourse by a man with his wife, from the criminal offence of rape.
The bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher and Justice C Hari Shankar refused to grant further time to the Centre to submit its written submission. The judgment has been reserved for 2 March.
The Centre, meanwhile, submitted that it has sent communication to all states and Union Territories, and sought that the proceedings be adjourned.
"We are closing it then. Judgment reserved. List for directions on 2 March. In the meantime, counsel for parties may file their written submissions and compilations," the bench said.
On 7 February, the Delhi HC had granted two weeks' time to the Centre to make submissions.
What's the Case?
Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code defines the offence of rape. While the section has been amended over the years to remove archaic concepts, emphasise on the importance of consent, and cover all relevant sexual acts, it still retains an exception for non-consensual sex by a husband with his wife.
This 'marital rape exception' has been challenged in the Delhi High Court, on the basis that it violates the fundamental rights of married women, including Article 14 (right to equal treatment by law) and Article 21 (right to life and personal liberty) of the Constitution.