The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a public interest litigation (PIL) which sought framing of a law for making marital rape a ground for divorce
A bench of Justices S.A. Bobde and B R. Gavai directed the petitioner and lawyer Anuja Kapur to approach a High Court with her plea.
As marital rape is not a ground for divorce in the Hindu Marriage Act, the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act and the Special Marriage Act, it cannot be used as a ground for divorce and cruelty against a husband, the petitioner said.
"There should be an amendment in Section 376 B of the Indian Penal Code stating sexual intercourse by husband upon his wife during separation, to be, amended into sexual intercourse by husband upon his wife without her consent and will in the course of her marriage," Kapur said in her plea.
Marital rape clearly violates the right to live with dignity of a woman, she added in the plea and sought framing of appropriate laws and bye-laws related to marital rape as a ground for divorce and to fix appropriate punishment and penalties for violation.
"Marital rape is no less an offence than murder, culpable homicide or rape per se. It denigrates the honour 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. Medical evidence proves that rape has severe and long lasting consequences for women," the petitioner said.
"There should be a clear guideline for registration of the case related to marital rape under framed guidelines and laws, so that accountability, responsibility and liability of the concerned authorities could be assigned and awarding penalties and punishments be awarded to safeguard the fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution of India and dignity of the woman in marriage."
The advocate said there was no law for stopping marital rape, marital force of intercourse and marital criminalisation.
As marital rape is not used as a context in sexual assault and sexual abuse, therefore, the petitioner has sought to frame a clear guideline for registration of the case related to marital rape.
She said since marital rape is not a context and is not a crime, no FIR is registered by a wife against her husband in any police station. Rather, it is being compromised by the police authorities to maintain the sanctity of the marriage between the victim and the husband.