Make marital rape ground for divorce, says plea; court declines
Marital rape should be a ground for divorce and the Centre should be directed to form appropriate laws- this is what a PIL demanded from Delhi High Court. However, on Tuesday, the court refused to entertain the PIL, which was filed by advocate Anuja Kapur. In its judgment, the bench said it can not direct the legislature to frame laws. Here's what went down.
Kapur used statistics to shed light on marital rape
Kapur said there should be certain guidelines for registering cases related to marital rape. In her plea, she relied on various studies to highlight how traumatic marital rape is. "18 out of every 100 men across India believe that a husband has the right to get angry and reprimand his wife if she refuses to have sexual intercourse with her husband," the PIL read.
Data shows husbands forced wives to have sex
As per the PIL, 43% men in Andhra Pradesh, 42.6% in Telangana, 29.5% in Mizoram, 21.75% in J&K, 20.3% in West Bengal and 19.9% in Karnataka feel it is okay to "reprimand" the wife if she refuses to indulge in sexual activities. In fact, five out of every 100 Indian women said their husbands forced them to have sexual intercourse, against their will.
As far as states are concerned, Bihar is the worst
"At the state level 11.4% women in Bihar, 10.6% in Manipur, 9% in Tripura, 7.4% in West Bengal, 7.3% in Haryana and 7.1% in Arunachal Pradesh reported that they were physically forced by their husbands to have sexual intercourse," the PIL highlighted.
Marital rape reduces woman to a corpse, argued Kapur
Further, Kapur said marital rape is no less an offense than murder, culpable homicide or rape per se. "It denigrates the honor and dignity of a human being and reduces her to a chattel to be utilized for one's self convenience and comfort. It reduces a woman to a corpse, living under the constant fear of hurt or injury," she added.
Kapur said it is important to make proper laws
Kapur went on to say that even if the wife insists, a case of marital rape isn't registered. "As marital rape is not a ground for divorce in Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 and Special Marriage Act, 1954, it cannot be used as a ground for divorce and cruelty against the husband," the PIL argued.
Junking the plea, court said it can't frame laws
Though Kapur backed her arguments with facts, the bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar wasn't convinced. The bench observed that one after another, petitioners come to court seeking formulation of laws. But the hands of the judiciary are tied in this regard. The bench said it didn't have the power to legislate under Article 226 of the Constitution.