The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed a PIL seeking directions to make 'marital rape' a ground for divorce. The matter fell within the mandate of the Legislature and no judicial orders can be passed in that regard, held the Court.
The petitioner Anuja Kapur argued that the plight of women who are victimized by marital rape remains unaddressed. It was also clarified that the petitioner is not seeking marital rape to be criminalized but only wants it to be recognized as a legitimate ground for a civil dispute.
Dismissing the petition, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Patel and Justice Hari Shankar noted that the position of law is clear on the fact that the court cannot give directions to the legislature to make laws or by-laws on a certain matter. The remedy for marital rape has to be addressed by the legislature and the Court cannot issue any directions for the same.
A petition seeking criminalization of marital rape is pending in the Delhi High Court. During the hearing, the Delhi Government told the High Court that marital rape is already criminalized under Section 498A of the IPC as 'cruelty'.
In a judgment passed in April 2018, the Gujarat HC had recommended the criminalization of marital rape.