Consent among most underrated concepts in our society, says Rahul Gandhi amid marital rape debate

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The Delhi High Court has been hearing a batch of petitions on the criminalization of marital rape. In this context, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday tweeted that consent is “among the most underrated concepts in our society” and it must be “foregrounded to ensure safety” of women.

He wrote, “Consent is amongst the most underrated concepts in our society. It has to be foregrounded to ensure safety for women.

While there is a growing demand for the criminalization of forceful sexual intercourse perpetrated by a man on his wife, the Centre on Thursday submitted an affidavit to the Delhi High Court stating that a consultative process regarding proposed amendments to criminal law is underway.

The Centre informed the court that marital rape cannot be made a criminal offense until the consultation with all stakeholders is complete. “Principles of natural justice require a larger hearing of all stakeholders,” the government emphasized.

Meanwhile, women’s rights activists have said that this consensus-building exercise is only a “delaying tactic” by the Centre.

WHAT DO THE PETITIONS SAY?

The Delhi High Court is hearing multiple petitions challenging the exception to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code which exempts forceful sexual intercourse by a man with his wife from the offense of rape, provided the wife is above 15 years of age

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