‘Petitions under Consideration in Separately Instituted Proceedings’: SC Dismisses PIL Seeking to Criminalise Marital Rape

Prerna Gala

Published on: September 5, 2022 at 21:38 IST

A Public Interest Litigation that asked for the criminalization of marital rape was dismissed by the Supreme Court on the grounds that the matter was already being addressed in a different set of procedures.

The Supreme Court dismissed a Public Interest Litigation that sought to have marital rape declared a crime on the grounds that the matter was already being addressed in a separate proceeding that had been started by Chief Justice U.U. Lalit and Justice Ravindra Bhat.

The bench dismissed the PIL, noting that the petitions resulting from the Delhi High Court’s split decision on the Marital Rape matter are scheduled to be heard on September 12th. A PIL on the subject was therefore not necessary.

The CJI stated– “Why should we multiply? You’re filing a PIL. You are going by the fact that it is a matter that the court must take note of. If the court is aware of the matter, your idea vanishes…Every person need not be heard…”

“In view of the fact that the petitions are under consideration in separately instituted proceedings, no reason to entertain this petition. Dismissed.”

The petition traced the history of marital rape and said that, while most countries had allowed husbands to have sex with their wives whenever they pleased up until the 1970s, anti-rape efforts led to the criminalization of marital rape in more than 150 countries.

However, out of the 200 countries on the globe, India was one of the 36 where marital rape was still allowed.

The petition, which sheds insight on marital rape law in India, claims that the Kerala High Court decided that marital rape might constitute grounds for divorce on August 6, 2021.

The Chhattisgarh High Court, however, decided that forced intercourse performed by a husband on a wife is not rape. It claimed that action that insults, humiliates, or otherwise interferes with a woman’s dignity is included in the first explanation of sexual assault under Section 3 of the Domestic Violence Act of 2005.

And she can ask for her husband’s separation as a result. The petition argued that this was insufficient because a married woman deserves a legal divorce. Protection to demand that the person who wronged her be punished equally.

The petition made clear that while the consummation of a marriage between minors is prohibited and may even constitute rape in the eyes of the law, the same question of a woman’s permission was void when she was violated after her marriage when she was a major.

The petition stated that– Justice J.S. Verma Committee had recommend for Criminalization of marital rape. For a nation that makes brouhaha about rape, the lack of criminalization of marital rape, makes mockery of justice. The issue of marital rape may be examined in todays’ perspective, with provisions of appropriate safe guards and punishment.

In order to stop marital rape, the petitioner has sought for the court to issue a Writ/Direction or Order upon the Government making it a criminal offence.

Additionally, it urged the government to protect women’s right to personal freedom and to raise awareness of the equality of women in all spheres of life.

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