The government feels that Supreme Court’s order criminalising sex with minor wife will work as a deterrent to child marriages and is unlikely to challenge the apex court order.
According to a senior government functionary, the top court order will help curb child marriages as it has created the needed "legal deterrent". The functionary said that the government is happy with the verdict and is unlikely to challenge it.
The apex court had on Tuesday held that sexual intercourse with a girl below 18 years of age, even by the husband, would now amount to rape. The apex court read down a provision in the Indian Penal Code of 1860 exempting males from being tried for rape if the wives were between the age of 15 and 18 years.
The top court also made clear that it had not "dealt with the larger issue of marital rape (sexual intercourse with wife without her consent) of adult women" as it was not raised before it.
Before the judgement, the provision stated that sexual intercourse by a man with his wife is not rape if she is not under 15 years of age.