Thursday, March 29, 2007

SC Notices on Discriminatory Marital Rape Law

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued show cause notices to government authorities to give in writing, within 15 days, the reasons for the inclusion of a discriminatory provision on marital rape in the Civil Code 1963.

According to section 3 of the Rape Chapter of the Civil Code 1963, a person can be imprisoned for three to six months if he is convicted of raping his wife. The Civil Code says that a person can be imprisoned for over seven years if he rapes a woman.

A single bench of Justice Bal Ram KC issued the notices to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and the Cabinet, the Ministry of Law Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and the Parliament Secretariat, calling them to submit written affidavits on the matter in the Supreme Court.The bench issued the notices following on Wednesday's initial hearing on a PIL challenging the Section 3 of the Rape Chapter.

During on Wednesday's hearing, advocate Meera Dhungane said the provision is discriminatory.According to the Civil Code, a person faces over a seven-year jail term for raping a woman, Dhungana said, adding that the husband, who rapes his wife should not enjoy leniency in terms of punishment.Challenging the provision, a victim, Jit Kumari Pangeni, and a group of advocates, including Sapana Pradhan Malla, have filed the PIL.

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