The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently held that forcible and unnatural sex in a marriage amounts to cruelty. Hence, it is a ground for divorce. As of now, forced sex in marriage is not a crime in India.
Indian Courts have previously been extra cautious on this subject. This is due to the fact that such allegations are easy to make, but difficult to prove. “Besides on the basis of evidence, the allegations are corroborated by other circumstances that one of the spouses has indulged in unnatural acts, the marriage can be dissolved by a decree of divorce,” the division bench of justices MMS Bedi and Hari Pal Verma said.
Background of the case
The ruling came in response to a case by a woman from Punjab who was married to a man from Bihar in 2007. However, she left him in 2010 on grounds of sodomy, forcible and oral sex. She, along with their child, started living in Punjab with her maternal family. Her husband had filed a plea for restoration of conjugal rights in Bihar. It became a basis for a Punjab district court dismissing her plea for divorce in 2014. She then moved the high court in 2014.
The woman in her case alleged that her husband was an alcoholic. After getting drunk, he would force her into sex and even beat her up. However, she failed to give any medical evidence or explain any specific instances of cruelties. Thus, the allegations were denied.
HT reported, “The court observed that no wife having a child will abandon her husband if there are no compelling circumstances. These allegations cannot be proved by any corroborative evidence in the absence of any witnesses nor such allegations can always be proved by medical evidence,” the court added.
The High Court ruling sparks fresh debates about the legality of divorce on grounds of forced sex in India. Concerns about false accusations often prevent the law from reaching a consensus. However, it can’t be denied that many wives suffer at the hands of their husbands for forced sex.
Nimisha Is An Intern With SheThePeople.TV