After the Supreme Court rejected the plea of advocate Anuja Kapur seeking to make marital rape ground for divorce last week, Delhi High Court today took a similar stand on the plea. A division bench of the HC headed by Chief Justice DN Patel and C Harishankar said the court was not entitled to do so, India Today reported.
Since the matter fell within the mandate of the legislation, the court cannot pass judicial order in this case. Kapur’s plea wanted the crime of marital rape to be recognised as a legitimate ground for a civil dispute. It also urged the court to direct the government to frame laws to make it a punishable offense. The court noted several PILs are filed in the court to change legislation which is not under its right.
The PIL urged the formulation of clear guideline for registration of marital rape cases under framed guidelines and laws so that accountability, responsibility, and liability of the authorities concerned can be fixed.
“Marital rape is no less an offense 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 utilised 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 plea said.
Kapoor said in the plea that currently the law is vague on marital rape as a ground of punishment or penalty during the registration of such a case in ambit of law.
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“There is a lot of confusion with the concerned authorities that under which law they should register an FIR/case related to marital rape. There should be a clear guideline for registration of the case of marital rape under framed guidelines and laws, so that accountability, responsibility and liability of the concerned authorities can be assigned and, penalties and punishments be awarded to safeguard the fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution and dignity of the woman in marriage,” the plea said.
Since the matter fell within the mandate of the legislation, the court cannot pass judicial order in this case. Kapur’s plea wanted the crime of marital rape to be recognised as a legitimate ground for a civil dispute.
She noted in the petition that as per a Delhi Government report to the High Court, marital rape was already criminalised as cruelty under Section 498A of the IPC. However, it vaguely applies to marital rape in terms of its implementation as a ground for divorce while registering a case at the police station.
Last month a minister in Uttar Pradesh Upendra Tiwari discarded the possibility of marital rape igniting several people to outrage on his views on rape. He said, “Rape has its nature. If a minor is raped then we consider it a case of rape. But, if you come across an incident where a married woman aged 30-35 is raped, then the matter is different.” This mentality of the legislators signifies why India still does not consider marital rape as a punishable offence.
Picture credit- NewsX