India closes marriage loophole which enabled sex with child brides

Latest news

    India’s Supreme Court has closed a loophole in the country’s age of consent law that made it legal for men to have sex with girls as young as 15 provided they were married.

    The landmark ruling threw out the exception that judged sex with a girl below the age of 18 to be illegal, but then legal in cases where the girl, aged 15-18, is married.

    Read more

    Judge overturns rape conviction of Indian filmmaker, says 'feeble no' can mean 'yes'

    This meant that boys aged 17 were being prosecuted for having sex with girls their own age, while older men were escaped a statutory rape charge because they were married to adolescent wives.

    “We are left with absolutely no other option but to harmonise the system of laws relating to children,” the Supreme Court’s Justice Madan Lokur said in his decision.

    Independent Thought, an NGO based in the province of Uttar Pradesh, brought the case before the Supreme Court despite successive Indian governments excusing the exception by citing the country’s unique social and economic factors.

    A recent census by India Spend, a data journalism initiative, estimated that nearly 12 million children under the age of 10 are married. Among them, as many as 5.4 million are said to be illiterate and 80 percent of them female.

    In the years 2008 and 2014, some 47 percent of girls in the country were married before their 18th birthday. This, while almost 20 percent were not older than 15, according to the UN’s children agency UNICEF.

    “We strongly feel that this decision of the Supreme Court will work in impacting child marriages, also,” Jagmati Sangwan, women’s activist and member of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), told Al Jazeera.

    The Supreme Court judges, however, declined to rule on another case challenging the law governing marital rape.  

    India does not recognize marital rape as an offense.This comes despite repeated efforts by activists to introduce a law making it illegal in recent times.

    Rape is a frequent occurrence in India, with at least 34,651 reported cases in 2015, according to the figures from National Crime Records Bureau cited by Al Jazeera.  

    READ MORE: Youth to propel India’s rise to become global economic superpower

    The issue of sexual violence against women in India leaped to international prominence in December 2012 when a young woman was gang-raped on a bus in New Dehli.

    Her subsequent death sparked mass protests across the country, prompting the government to raise its mandatory minimum jail sentence for rape from 10 to 20 years.

    View the original article: https://www.rt.com/news/406407-india-child-statutory-rape-charge/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

    The maximum sentence is set at life behind bars.

    In the same category are

    US to spend $214mn on Europe air bases on pretext of ‘Russian aggression’ Washington has allocated $214 million to build airfields, training sites, ranges and other military installations in an unprecedented military buildup...
    Das Boot ist kaputt! Germany has the world’s best submarines… but none of them work Published time: 18 Dec, 2017 04:34Edited time: 18 Dec, 2017 06:22 Germany is effectively without its entire submarine fleet, and won't have one vessel...
    Tory ‘plot’ to boost overtime will hand power to ‘bad bosses’ – union leader Published time: 18 Dec, 2017 05:24Edited time: 18 Dec, 2017 06:47 In an effort to delineate the UK from its neighbors post-Brexit, government minister...
    Search & destroy: US military releases photos of joint drills for removing North Korea’s WMD Published time: 18 Dec, 2017 08:22Edited time: 18 Dec, 2017 08:55 The US military has released photos of massive joint drills with its ally South Kore...
    Gove’s armada: UK fishing stocks to be protected from EU trawlers post-Brexit Published time: 18 Dec, 2017 08:34 British fishing stocks will be guarded from EU nations’ trawlers by a post-Brexit armada. Environment Secretary Mic...
    UN Security Council to vote on outlawing Trump’s Jerusalem decision The UN Security Council is expected to vote Monday on a resolution confirming the international status of Jerusalem and outlawing any changes to it – ...

    Comment on this story