Independent Thought vs Union of India - Supreme Court Important Judgment

 Independent Thought vs Union of India - Supreme Court Important Judgment 2017 - 


On 11th October, 2017, in the case of Independent Thought v. Union of India and Anr. [Writ Petition (Civil) No.382 of 2013], the question for consideration was whether sexual intercourse between a man and his wife being a girl between 15 and 18 years of age is rape. It was held that “sexual intercourse with a girl below 18 years of age is rape regardless of whether she is married or not” and that Exception 2 to Section 375 of IPC “creates an unnecessary and artificial distinction between a married girl child and an unmarried girl child and has no rational nexus with any unclear objective sought to be achieved.”


It was held that the said artificial distinction “is arbitrary and discriminatory and is definitely not in the best interest of the girl child. The artificial distinction is contrary to the philosophy and ethos of Article 15(3) of the Constitution as well as contrary to Article 21 of the Constitution and our commitments in international conventions. It is also contrary to the philosophy behind some statutes, the bodily integrity of the girl child and her reproductive choice.”


 Accordingly, it was observed that the only pragmatic option available is to read Exception 2 to Section 375 of the IPC “in a purposive manner to make it in consonance with the POCSO Act, the spirit of other pro-child legislations and the human rights of a married girl child”. It was held that there is absolutely no other option but to harmonize the system of laws relating to children and require Exception 2 to Section 375 of the IPC to now “meaningfully read as: “Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under eighteen years of age, is not rape.” 

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