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A PIL was filed in the Delhi High Court to declare Martial Rape as a ground for divorce. The Petition was dismissed by a Division bench consisting of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Hari Shankar on the grounds that the Court did not have power to legislate under Article 226 of the Constitution.
It is pertinent to note that martial rape is not a ground for divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act, the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act,1937 or the Special Marriage Act,1954.
The petition also sought a direction to the Centre to frame clear guidelines for the registration of cases related to marital rape.
To highlight the menace, the petitioner relied on several studies to quote the statistics pertaining to marital rape.
“…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. At the state level, 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 felt the same way.
During the National Family Health Survey men respondents were asked if they agreed to the fact that a husband is justified in hitting or beating his wife if she refuses to have sex with him. Nine out of every 100 men across India agreed that a husband is justified in beating his wife if she refuses to have sex with him.”
The petition further added,
“Five out of every 100 women in India reported that their husband had physically forced them to have sexual intercourse with him even when they didn’t want it. 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 and7.1% in Arunachal Pradesh reported that they were physically forced by their husbands to have sexual intercourse with them even when they did not want to.”
“It denigrates the honor and dignity of a human being, and reduces her to a chattel to be utilized for ones self convenience and comfort. Itreduces a woman to a corpse, living under the constant fear of hurt or injury.”
Therefore, the petitioner sought a direction to the frame appropriate laws and by-laws and also punishments and penalties for martial rape.
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