In a historic judgment on 11 October 2017, International Girl Child Day, the Supreme Court of India in the matter; Independent Thought vs. Union of India (W.P. Civil 382 of 2013) read down the Exception 2 to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, making sex with minor wife a criminal offence of Rape. 

The judgment read that Exception 2 to Section 375 IPC in so far as it relates to a girl child below 18 years is liable to be struck down on the following grounds: –

  • it is arbitrary, capricious, whimsical and violative of the rights of the girl child and not fair, just and reasonable and, therefore, violative of Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of India; 
  • it is discriminatory and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India and; 
  • it is inconsistent with the provisions of POCSO, which must prevail. 
  • Judgment clarified POCSO and PCMA as special and secular law applicable on everyone irrespective of age, relationship and religion