The Supreme Court on Wednesday said sex with wife aged between 15 and 18 years would be a punishable offence under the IPC.
While hearing the plea, the apex court observed exception in rape law is discriminatory, capricious and arbitrary.
The court expressed concern over the practice of child marriage, saying social justice laws are not implemented with the spirit they have been enacted.
The exception in rape law under the IPC is contrary to other statutes, violates bodily integrity of girl child, the Supreme Court said.
Sexual intercourse with wife below 18-years to be considered rape, says Supreme Court. pic.twitter.com/ElivwbTBmr— ANI (@ANI) October 11, 2017
A bench comprising Justice Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta also expressed concern over the prevalent practise of child marriage in the country and said social justice laws were not implemented with the spirit with which they have been enacted by Parliament.
The bench clarified that it has not dealt with the issue of marital rape as it was not raised before it by respective parties. Justice Gupta, who wrote a separate but concurrent verdict, said the age of marriage was 18 in all laws and the exception given in the rape law under the IPC is "capricious, arbitrary and violates the rights of a girl child".
The apex court said the exception is violative of Article14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution. It asked the Centre and the states to take proactive steps to prohibit child marriage across the country. It voiced concern over thousands of minor girls being married in mass wedding ceremonies on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya. (With PTI Inputs)