In this episode of Balya Amulya, RJ Vijaya interviews Vasudev Sharma and Nagamani regarding the new law passed by the Indian Supreme Court that states that “Sex with a minor wife with/without her consent is rape.”
“The SC passed this law to support the girl child and her rights. The SC has also stated that non-consensual sexual relationship with a woman is rape, even if she has crossed the age of 15. This also talks about marital rape, which is taken for granted in the Indian society.”
According to Indian law, it is called ‘consumation’ – the first instance of sexual intercourse between a married couple. But, without the wife’s consent, it comes to be considered as rape. One of the reasons for inviting people to weddings is to establish proof of the marriage. Therefore, people taking part in child marriage can now legally be subjected to a one-year term of punishment.
In days of the past, when girls used to be married off very young, physical contact between the wife and the husband was allowed only after the former had attained puberty. A girl’s or woman’s consent is never considered in a child marriage situation. Vasudev suggests printing the bride’s date of birth on wedding invitation cards to fight this menace.
Two major Indian laws that target child marriage in India are The Prohibition of Child Marriage (PCM) Act 2006 and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO). The Centre for Law and Policy Research (CLPR) and the Child Rights Trust (CRT), in conjunction with the Government of Karnataka, amended the PCM Act in 2016. “If a married minor wife appeals to the court that she doesn’t accept her marriage, then the court considers it to be void,” the amendment stated. The wife is also provided with a chance to prove that she hasn’t had any physical contact with the husband.
Vasudev believes that education can empower women. “Awareness about these laws is a must in the Indian society.”
Written by Deepika Pishey.