Goa Women and Child Development Minister Vishwajit Rane on 11 October welcomed the Supreme Court's decision dubbing sexual intercourse with women below the age of 18 years as rape.
Rane, who is also the state's Health Minister, told reporters here that he is aware of pregnant and married women aged 14-15 years from the neighbouring states getting admitted to the hospitals in his rural constituency of Valpoi and that the judgment would put an end to exploitation of women.
"In villages and big states, women are exploited. This is an important decision. As the Health Minister, I welcome it," Rane said.
"A lot of women who come for delivery are below the age of 18. In some cases, they are of 16 years. I have seen in my constituency that people who come from outside are 14-15 years old when they have children."
In a landmark decision on 11 October, the Supreme Court said that sex with a wife below 18 years of age is rape, striking down the provision of criminal law that permitted sex with a wife aged between 15 and 18.
The husband is liable to be prosecuted if the woman files a complaint within a year of the sexual act, the Supreme Court said.