The Law Commission on Wednesday recommended that the age of consent for sex should be raised from 15 years to 16 years for girls, regardless of marriage.
Currently, Section 375 of the IPC, that defines rape, provides the following exception: “Sexual intercourse by a man with his wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape.” The commission recommended that the exception be deleted and the girl’s age of consent for sex be raised to 16.
“This would ensure that the age of consent for sexual intercourse for all girls, whether married or not, is 16,” the commission said in its 205th report on the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 and other allied laws. Law Commission Chairman Justice AR Lakshmanan submitted the report to Law Minister HR Bhardwaj on Wednesday.
If the government accepts the recommendation and accordingly Section 375 is amended, a man eloping with a girl below the age of 16 and marrying her would face rape charges if he makes love to her even with her consent. “The rationale behind the minimum age of consent is that the girl is not mature enough to know the consequences of sexual intercourse and this rationale would be the same for a minor bride and other minors,” the commission said.
The report mentioned the case of an 11-year-old bride who died of haemorrhage from a rupture of the vagina after her husband forcibly had sex with her.