New Delhi, Oct 13 (PTI) The government is unlikely to challenge the Supreme Court verdict terming sex with a minor wife as rape as it feels that the judgement will work as a deterrent to child marriages.

A senior government functionary said here that the apex court order will help curb child marriages as it has created the needed “legal deterrent”.

The functionary said that the government is happy with the verdict and is unlikely to challenge it.

The apex court had on Tuesday held that sexual intercourse with a girl below 18 years of age, even by the husband, would now amount to rape.

The apex court read down a provision in the Indian Penal Code of 1860 exempting males from being tried for rape if the wives were between the age of 15 and 18 years.

The top court also made clear that it had not “dealt with the larger issue of marital rape (sexual intercourse with wife without her consent) of adult women” as it was not raised before it.

Before the judgement, the provision stated that sexual intercourse by a man with his wife is not rape if she is not under 15 years of age.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.