Marital Rape A Ground For Divorce

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Marital Rape A Ground For Divorce

Marital Rape A Ground For Divorce

Marital rape is a valid ground for divorce, as per the recent Kerala High Court decision.

The Kerala High Court, in an important judgment, has made it clear that marital rape is a valid ground for divorce. However, there is no provision for punishment for marital rape in India.

  • In marriage, the husband or wife has a choice of not being a victim. It is fundamental to the autonomy guaranteed under natural law and the Constitution.
  • By rejecting the divorce by the court, the law cannot compel the husband or the wife to suffer against her will.
  • According to section 375 (exception) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), sex or sexual act by a man with his own wife, if the wife is not less than fifteen years of age, is not rape. Thus this section protects such acts from prosecution. India is one of the 36 countries where marital rape is not a legal offense.
  • The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women recommended in 2013 that the Indian government should outlaw marital rape.
  • The JS Verma committee, formed in the midst of nationwide protests after the 2012 gang rape case, also recommended that marital rape be declared a crime.

Legal Provisions Available to Women

  • Section 498A deals with cruelty to women by their husbands or any relative of their husbands.
  • Under Indian law, the ‘Domestic Violence Act, 2005’ makes the act of coercive sexual intercourse punishable.
  • However, legally a magistrate does not have absolute power to declare the act of a person raping his wife as an offense, nor can that person be punished.

Source – The Hindu

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