As the Delhi High Court hears a batch of petitions on criminalisation of marital rape, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said consent is amongst the most underrated concepts in society and it has to be foregrounded to ensure safety for women.

“Consent is amongst the most underrated concepts in our society. It has to be foregrounded to ensure safety for women,” Gandhi tweeted, using the hashtag ‘MaritalRape’.

The central government, in its earlier affidavit filed in the case, had said that marital rape cannot be made a criminal offence as it could become a phenomenon that may destabilise the institution of marriage and an easy tool for harassing the husbands.

The Delhi government has told the court that marital rape was already covered as a “crime of cruelty” under the Indian Penal Code.

A petitioner NGO has challenged the constitutionality of marital rape exception under section 375 IPC on the ground that it discriminated against married women who are sexually assaulted by their husbands.