child bride
According to the current legal framework in India, marital rape is not considered an offence if the wife is older than 15Reuters

A man accused of raping his wife has been acquitted by a court in New Delhi, thanks to a national law which decrees that forced intercourse is not a crime if victim and perpetrator are married.

The plaintiff claimed she was sedated by her husband, known only as Vikash, before being taken to the Registrar of Marriages at Ghaziabad in an intoxicated state in March 2013. After she signed the marriage documents, he allegedly raped and abandoned her.

In finding for the defendant, the court cited Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, which stipulates that a man cannot be convicted of raping his wife unless she is under 15 years of age.

Judge Virender Bhat was quoted by apblive.in as saying: "The parties being husband and wife, the sexual intercourse between the two does not come within the ambit of the offence of rape, even if the same was against the will and consent of the victim.

"Thus [the plaintiff] and the accused being legally wedded husband and wife, [the plaintiff] being major [over 15 years old], the sexual intercourse between the two, even if forcible, is not rape and no culpability can be fastened upon the accused."

The court also said that "there is no clinching or convincing evidence on record to show that the accused had administered any stupefying substance to [the defendant] on March 4, 2013, before taking her to the Ghaziabad court."

Vikash had pleaded innocent, claiming their marriage was consummated in February 2011 at the woman's house. Upon the insistence of his wife, he decided to get their marriage registered and went to the Ghaziabad court.

Vikash alleged that his wife framed him in the rape case after he expressed his inability to get his sister's house transferred in his name.