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Gujarat HC Sends Notice to State, Centre Over PIL Challenging Marital Rape

The petitioner states that sub-section 2 of 375 (IPC) violates the sexual autonomy of women.

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Gujarat HC Sends Notice to State, Centre Over PIL Challenging Marital Rape
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The Gujarat High Court has issued notices to the state and Centre in response to a PIL challenging the constitutional validity of marital rape.

The PIL has challenged Section 375(2) of the IPC, which exonerates a husband from punishment of rape for forcible physical relations with his legally wedded wife without her consent.

The petition filed by Jaideep Verma challenged the exception given to men under Section 375, which creates artificial distinctions on rights conferred on women to file a criminal complaint, and also takes away their fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution.

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Section 375(2) of IPC Violates Sexual Autonomy of Women: Verma

Verma states that the sub-section 2 of 375 violates the sexual autonomy of women, and defines that sexual intercourse or sexual act by a man with his wife, with the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape.

"This violates the right to live with dignity, right to refuse, right to reproductive choices, right to privacy, etc. It also creates artificial distinction in that if the women can file a complaint against husband in case of physical assault why it can't be considered an offence like in case of rape, which is more serious," states the PIL.

On Tuesday, the High Court issued notices to both the state as well as the central governments, which are returnable on 19 January.

The court observed that '"...it is high time that a writ court undertakes the exercise of considering, whether the exception-2 to section 375 of the IPC could be termed as manifestly arbitrary and makes a woman's fundamental right to sexual autonomy subject to the whims of her husband."

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