The Delhi High Court has delivered a split verdict in the batch of cases challenging the exemption to sexual acts between a man and his wife under Section 375 of IPC, thereby seeking criminalization of marital rape.

Justice Rajiv Shakdher has struck down the impugned provisions. The declaration will operate only from the date of the decision, the Judge held. The Judge also held that the husband would not fall under the definition of relative. He granted the certificate of leave to appeal. He noted that two High Courts have already expressed their view.

Justice C Hari Shankar however, declined the challenge, but granted leave to appeal.

The Division Bench pronounced its verdict today after it had reserved the cases for judgment on February 21, post a marathon hearing.

The cases were reserved for judgment while declining the Center's request for an adjournment for it to make its stand clear.

The Central government had filed a written submission in the year 2017 strongly opposing the cases on merit. However, the centre then took a stand that it is in the process of consultation over the issue with states and union territories and only after the process will it be in a position to take a stand on the issue. It had filed an affidavit on February 20 reiterating the said position.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had appeared for the Center to seek an adjournment stating that any decision will have serious repercussions, the Center can take a stand in the matter only after consultation.

"We cannot let the matter hang like this", Justice Rajiv Shakdher had said in response. Your consultation process can go on, we will hear the matter and reserve the judgment, if you can come back and report in the meantime, we can consider it, the Bench had said.

Incidentally, yesterday the Supreme Court had issued notice on an SLP challenging the decision of the Karnataka High Court refusing to quash an FIR registered at the instance of the wife for rape against her husband.

"We have to hear this matter", a Bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana, Justice J K Maheshwari and Justice Hima Kohli had said.