REPORT: India Rules Sex with Child Brides is Rape

A new report is claiming India’s Supreme Court recently struck down a legal clause that gives men the right to have intercourse with their child brides.

The legal clause stated sex was permissible between a man and wife as long as she was 15.

India’s legal age of consent is 18, however marital rape is not considered an offense. This new move to strike down the legal clause is being considered a great victory.

However, trying to enforce it will be difficult some correspondents have said.

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According to the new judgement, girls under 18 would have the ability to charge their husbands with rape, so long as it was reported within a year of the crime.

“This is a landmark judgement that corrects a historical wrong against girls. How could marriage be used as a criterion to discriminate against girls?” Vikram Srivastava, the founder of Independent Thought, told the BBC.

Srivastava has been one of the main petitioners in this case.

One BBC correspondent is skeptical though. Geeta Pandey in Delhi says the new judgement is very welcomed, however enforcing it while child marriage is still rampant will prove difficult.

“Courts and police cannot monitor people’s bedrooms and a minor girl who is already married, almost always with the consent of her parents, will not usually have the courage to go to the police or court and file a case against her husband,” Pandey says.

India’s government made a public statement that the practice of child marriage is “an obstacle to nearly every developmental goal: eradicating poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality; protecting children’s lives; and improving women’s health”.

 

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