NEW DELHI: Does a husband enjoy immunity from prosecution for the offence of rape if he forces his wife, who is not a minor, to have sex?
A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court will examine this after constitution benches conclude hearing some listed pleas, said Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud when senior lawyer Indira Jaising mentioned the matter for urgent listing.
The constitutional validity of an exception clause of Section 375 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) is under challenge as it exempts a husband from being prosecuted for rape for having non-consensual sexual intercourse with the spouse if she happens to be an adult.
“We have to resolve the matters concerning marital rape,” said the bench, which also comprised Justices P S Narasimha and Manoj Misra.
“My case deals with thechild sexual abuse,” Jaising told the court. The CJI said these matters are to be heard by a three-judge bench and will be listed for hearing after the five-judge constitution benches conclude hearing some listed cases.
A five-judge constitution bench led by the CJI is currently hearing petitions related to regimes on grant of driving licence for different kind of vehicles under the Motor Vehicle Act. The petitions on abrogation of Article 370are also scheduled for hearing.
The SC had on January 16 sought the Centre’s response to the petitions pertaining to criminalisation of marital rape and the IPC provision which provides protection to a husband against prosecution for forcible sexual intercourse if the wife is an adult. The Centrehad said the issue has legal and social implications, and that it would like to file response to the petitions.

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