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Kerala HC upholds Marital Rape as valid ground to claim Divorce

2 min read

Greeva Garg – 

Published on August 06, 2021, 06:42 IST

The Kerala High Court while dismissing two sets of appeals filed by a husband challenging the decision of the Family Court, upheld that Marital Rape is a valid ground to claim divorce.

The division bench comprising of Justice A. Muhamed Mustaque and Justice Kauser Edappagath observed that marital rape, although is not penalised in India but is a solid ground for attaining divorce.

“A husband’s licentious disposition disregarding the autonomy of the wife is marital rape, albeit such conduct cannot be penalised, it falls in the frame of physical and mental cruelty,” the Bench stated.

The appeals were filed by the husband against the Judgment of the Family Court allowing a divorce to a woman on the ground of cruelty. 

The Family Court also dismissed the petition for restitution of conjugal rights filed by the appellant. 

The Family Court had observed that, “The appellant treated his wife as a money-minting machine and that she had chosen to file for divorce when the harassment and cruelty reached a level beyond toleration. She was allegedly subjected to constant harassment and demand for money in this regard.”

The respondent-wife alleged appellant-husband for the worst form of sexual perversion, disposing of that he committed forceful sex when she was sick, bedridden and even on the day his mother expired. 

The respondent added that she was forced to engage in sexual intercourse even in front of their daughter.

The respondent also alleged the appellant for making wrong contentions against her for having illicit relationships with other men.

The High Court observed that, “The marital rape occurs when the husband is under the notion that the body of his wife owes to him. However, such a notion has no place in modern social jurisprudence. The spouses in marriage today are treated as equal partners and the husband cannot claim any superior right over wife either with respect to her body or with reference to individual status.”

At the end of the proceeding, the bench upheld the decision of the Family Court and dismissed the appeals.

Click here to Read/Download the Order

Read more: Violence against women and Marital Rape