Marital rape good ground to claim divorce, says Kerala HC

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Upholding marital rape as a valid ground to claim divorce, the Kerala high court has recently said incidents of marital rape occurs when the husband is under the notion that the body of his wife owes to him, but such a notion has no place in modern social jurisprudence, the division bench of Justice A Muhamed Mustaque and Justice Kauser Edappagath said, Livelaw reported. “Treating a wife’s body as something owing to husband and committing sexual acts against her will is nothing but marital rape,” the court said adding that just because the law does not recognise marital rape, it does not mean that the court will not recognise this 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,” the court said.

The court made the remarks as it dismissed the appeals by the husband who moved the high court against the decision of the family court in a case that has been going on for over a decade. “An insatiable urge for wealth and sex of a husband had driven a woman to distress. In desperation for obtaining a divorce, she had forsaken and abandoned all her monetary claims. Her cry for divorce has been prolonged in the temple of justice for more than a decade,” the court observed.

The family court, against which the appeal was filed in the high court, allowed a petition for divorce on the ground of cruelty. According to the complaint, the wife was subjected to harassment of various kinds. She was also harassed for money and her father had reportedly given ₹77 lakh to the husband on various occasions. The wife had also complained that she was forced to have sex while she was “sick, bedridden and even on the day the husband’s mother expired”.

The couple got married in 1995 and have two children. The husband was a “qualified medical doctor” when the duo got married but never practised. The wife’s father is in the realty business and the husband too got into the real estate business which did not sail smoothly for him. It was an arranged marriage and 501 gold sovereigns, a car and a flat were given to the husband at the time of the wedding.

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