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SC criminalises sex with minor wife aged between 15 to 18 years

The Supreme Court has criminalised sex between man and his underage wife below 18 years provided the woman files a complaint within a year. The landmark order fixes the age of consent at 18 for all girls.

The apex court gave its order on a petition filed by NGO Independent Thought which had challenged exception clause (2) in Section 375 IPC (which deals with rape).

What is the issue?

The clause (2) of Section 375 IPC had created dichotomy over age of consent as it says intercourse or sexual act by a man with his wife, not below 15 years, is not rape. According to NGO Independent Thought’s petition, this exception clause was against objectives of Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (which sets 18 years as statutory marriageable age for girls) and also violation of international conventions to which India was a signatory.

SC Verdict

The Supreme Court held that age of marriage was 18 in all laws and exception given in rape law under clause (2) of Section 375 of IPC was arbitrary and was violates the rights of a girl child. It is violates Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution. Moreover it was contrary to the philosophy of other statutes and violates the bodily integrity of a girl child. It asked the Centre and states to take proactive steps to prohibit child marriage across country. The apex court also clarified that it has not dealt with the issue of marital rape as it was not raised before it.

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India ranks 116 out of 157 nations on 2017 SDG index

India has been ranked low 116 out of 157 nations on the 2017 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Index and Dashboard report released by Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and Bertelsmann Stiftung.

The index assesses the performance of countries towards achieving the ambitious SDGs. It ranks countries based on their performance across the 17 SDGs.

Key Highlights of 2017 SDG Index and Dashboard report

Top Countries in 2017 SDG Index: Sweden (1st), Denmark (2nd), Finland (3rd), Norway (4th), Czech Republic (5th), Germany (6th), Austria (7th), Switzerland (8th) and Slovenia (9th).United States was ranked 42nd on the Index, Russia and China ranked 62nd and 71st respectively.

It shows that the countries which are closest to fulfilling the objectives of the goals are not the biggest economies but comparably small, developed countries.

India’s performance: India with a score of 58.1 was ranked 116th on the index, behind countries such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and China. Pakistan was ranked 122. In 2016, India was ranked 110th.

Global Scenario: Rising trend of nationalism and protectionism is impeding the implementation of the goals and industrialised countries are not serving as role model in the implementation of the goals. Many of the richest countries in the world are nowhere near achieving objectives of goals but also deteriorating the implementation process for poorer countries because of negative spillover effects.

Need for urgent action: The report calls for urgent need for action on the part of G20 countries in making sustainable development goals a reality both within and beyond their borders. All countries must take up the goals as part of their national development strategies if the SDGs are to be achieved globally.

About Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The SDGs are the set of 17 non-binding goals featuring 169 targets to be implemented from 2015 to 2030. They were adopted by member countries of United Nations at the 2015 UN Sustainable Development Summit held in New York. These goals intend to achieve sustainable development and are more comprehensive than earlier Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

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