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HC refuses to grant more time to Centre to state stand on pleas to criminalise marital rape

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New Delhi, February 21

The Delhi High Court on Monday refused to grant further time to the Centre to make its stand clear on the issue of criminalising marital rape and reserved judgement on various pleas in the matter.

The Centre submitted that it has sent communication to all states and Union Territories asking their comments on the issue and urged the court that the proceedings be adjourned till such time the inputs are received.

A bench of Justices Rajiv Shakdher and C Hari Shankar said it was not possible to adjourn an ongoing matter as there is no terminal date by when the Centre’s consultations will be over on the issue.

“We are closing it then,” the bench said, adding, “judgement reserved. List for directions on March 2. In the meantime, counsel for parties may file their written submissions and compliations.”

The court was dealing with a batch of petitions seeking to strike down the exception granted to husbands under the Indian rape law.

On February 7, the high court had granted two-week time to the Centre to state its stand on the petitions seeking criminalisation of marital rape.

The Centre had filed an affidavit urging the court to defer hearing on the petitions, stating that criminalising marital rape has very far reaching socio-legal implications in the country and a meaningful consultative process with various stakeholders including the state governments is needed.

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