Headlines:

Sex with a minor to be considered rape in India, even if the girl is married

India’s Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that sex  with a minor amounts to rape, even if the couple are married. The top court also expressed concern over the practice of child  marriage, saying social justice laws are not implemented with the spirit they had been  enacted in.

Wednesday’s verdict would not be applied retrospectively, however, said the  court. The Supreme Court asked the state governments to take proactive steps to prohibit  child marriages across the country. It voiced concern over thousands of minor girls being  married in mass wedding ceremonies on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya. Tens of millions of girls are forced each year into sexual slavery in India and South Asia.

child-marriage-in-India
Child marriage in India

Child marriage is illegal in India but a report by UNICEF this year found that 47 per cent of Indian girls are married before they are 18. Some of them are married even before they turn 15. Despite decision of the Supreme Court, the government in the country says that it opposes the move because it would damage the institution of marriage and could make men vulnerable to harassment by their wives. Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director for Human Rights Watch, said: “This corrects a discrepancy in the law and will hopefully go some way in ending the practice of early marriage.” The number of underage brides has declined 0.3 percent in rural areas since 2001, but in urban areas it increased 0.7 percent, a study found.

Comments