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Marital Rape Good Ground For Divorce Observes Kerala High Court

August 06, 2021 | by Ritu Sanghvi

In the last couple of days, the Kerala High Court has made some very serious and important decisions when it comes to rape. The most recent one being on marital rape. Marital rape is a concept that most people don’t understand. In fact, most married women do not know all the aspects of this crime. And that is why most women suffer in silence and aren’t even aware that they are being sexually abused. But for those women who know and understand it, come out and ask for justice. And the Kerala High Court supports these women and has identified marital rape as a solid reason for divorce.

Recently, on the 6th of August, the Kerala High Court upheld the rule that marital rape is a very solid ground for any woman seeking a divorce from her husband. The Kerala High Court said, “A husband’s licentious disposition disregarding the autonomy of the wife is marital rape, albeit such conduct cannot be penalized, it falls in the frame of physical and mental cruelty.” 

A Division Bench of Justice A Muhamed Mustaque and Justice Kauser Edappagath, upholding the fact that marital rape as grounds of divorce, found that “ Merely for the reason that the law does not recognize marital rape under penal law, it does not inhibit the court from recognizing the same as a form of cruelty to grant a divorce. We, therefore, are of the view that marital rape is a good ground to claim divorce.” 

This observation was seen when a divorce case was filed by a woman on the grounds of marital rape. According to the case, the woman had faced the worst kind of sexual perversion and physical harassment from her husband. In fact, the report states that the husband had even forced himself on the woman when the woman was sick and even on the day when his mother passed away. 

In fact, the woman also stated that she was forced to have unnatural sex and engage in sexual intercourse with her husband in front of their child who is a minor. There was no denying that her seeking divorce on these grounds is well justified. Even the Kerala High Court observed that “The case in hand depicts a story of the struggle of a woman within the clutches of law to give primacy of choice not to suffer in the bondage of legal tie.”

I honestly was proud of the fact that the Kerala High Court stated that one of the most crucial reasons for marital rape is because the husband believes that his wife’s body is owned by him. They even went ahead to state no husband has the right to claim any sort of rights over the wife’s body or her individual status. And that’s as clear as one can put it. Only because you marry a woman doesn’t mean that you own her. She is her own person. Period.  

Ritu Sanghvi

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