With the judgements it has been passing lately, it looks like our apex court is on a roll.
First, the Supreme Court banned the sale of firecrackers for the entire duration of Diwali in the Delhi-NCR region. A lot of people were visibly angered by this decision and took to Twitter to express their views.
And now, looks like the SC has given people something new to talk about.
In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court has decreed that sex with a minor wife will be considered as rape.
This is a prospective law, which has no effect on existing marriages, but will hold sway over future marital unions.
Many have applauded SC for finally passing this law.
— jatin gandhi (@jatingandhi) October 11, 2017
However, a majority seem utterly confused.
1.’Minor Wife’? Is that even legal?
Wife? Below 18 years? 'Minor wife' isn't d term contradictory? Crime in itself???
— Shhhhhhweta👿 (@i_LiE__) October 11, 2017
Minor wife is illegal no? https://t.co/OBNkZtwUW0
— Kshitij (@ksholumbus) October 11, 2017
3. This season on Balika Vadhu…
SC says sex with minor wife is rape… Does that mean child marriage is ok as long as there is no sex involved? #AmazingJustice
— Ram Subramanian (@VORdotcom) October 11, 2017
4. This question is out of syllabus!
SC criminalises sex with minor wife & it would now be considered as rape. But will this apply to Muslims too? What abt #MuslimPersonallaw ?
— Dr. Manish Kumar (@DrManishKumar1) October 11, 2017
These tweets make it seem like the Supreme Court was majorly confused about what exactly they wanted to make illegal and what they wished to legalise.
Well, the confusion seems quite justified. Currently, there are three different provisions in our legal system regarding legal age of marriage and age of consent.
One, the legal age of marriage is 18 years for girls and 21 years for boys. Two, the legal age of consent for sex is 18 years for girls, while no such age has been specified for boys. And finally, in case of child marriages, the earlier provision stated that a husband could have sex with a wife who was 15 years or above, with or without her consent.
Therefore, keeping the stark reality in mind that child marriages are still rampant in India despite being illegal, the SC, with this judgement has struck off the earlier law that allowed a husband to have consensual or non-consensual sex with his minor bride.
We cannot ignore that child marriages still occur in many parts of the country. At least now, with the legal age of consent being 18 years in all cases, the incidence of marital rape of minor brides can be kept in check.
This coming on International Girl Child Day is just the cherry on the cake. Good one, SC!