Criminalising marital rape: Men Welfare Trust moves Gujarat HC to join litigation

Source: Times of India: 13th April 2022

AHMEDABAD: An NGO named Men Welfare Trust (MWT) has approached the Gujarat high court with a request to allow it to join the hearing on a PIL seeking to criminalise marital rape by challenging exception in IPC provisions that protects men from criminal prosecution for forcing non-consensual intercourse with their wives.
Before this Trust, a senior citizen from Vadodara, Rajanikant Kataria, also filed an application seeking liberty from the court to become part of the litigation. His lawyer submitted that Kataria wanted to oppose the demand of criminalising marital rape and urged the HC not to decide the issue on the basis of common law, and the ancient and traditional legal system of India should also be taken into consideration.
The bench of Justice J B Pardiwala and Justice Niral Mehta told MWT that it would not decide on impleadment on Wednesday, but whenever it decides on the issue, the court would hear them. The court asked Kataria also to wait. MWT submitted that it has been an intervener in the proceedings pending before the Delhi high court on the same subject.

Meanwhile, the bench asked the petitioner to wait for the verdict of the Delhi court on the issue, and it would proceed with the matter once the Delhi HC delivers its verdict. A similar litigation is pending in Delhi HC and the court is to pronounce its verdict. The petitioner’s lawyer submitted that if the Delhi HC strikes down the Exception 2 in section 275 of the IPC and makes marital rape a prosecutable offence under section 376 of IPC, the PIL filed in the Gujarat HC would become infructuous. To this, the bench said that if the provision is struck down, the petitioner’s demands would be met. “Even if the decision (of the Delhi HC) is otherwise, we may always look into this issue on our own,” Justice Pardiwala said.

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