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Updated January 3rd, 2024 at 16:32 IST

Kerala HC rules subjecting wife to sexual perversions against wish can be ground of divorce

The Kerala High Court has made it abundantly evident that it would be cruel to subject a wife to sexual perversions against her will and consent.

Reported by: Digital Desk
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नाबालिगों से जुड़े यौन अपराध मामलों पर अदालत | Image:Freepik
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Kochi: The Kerala High Court has made it abundantly evident that it would be cruel to subject a wife to sexual perversions against her will and consent, both mentally and physically. It also made clear that opinions on sexual perversion differ among people and that consenting adults would have the final say over whether or not to engage in sexual activity out of their own free will and consent.

The Division Bench comprising Justice Amit Rawal and Justice C S Sudha observed thus, “When two consenting adults engage in coitus in the privacy of their bedroom, it is their choice as to how and in what manner they should act. But if one of the party objects to the conduct or acts of the other party on the ground that it is against normal course of human conduct or normal sexual activity, and still he/she is compelled to do the same, then it can only be termed as cruelty both physical and mental. If the conduct and character of a party causes misery and agony to the other spouse, the said conduct would certainly be an act of cruelty to the spouse justifying the grant of divorce. Subjecting the wife to sexual perversions against her will and consent is certainly an act of mental as well as physical cruelty.”

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In two matrimonial appeals filed by the appellant-wife against the respondent-husband, who was accused of cruelty and desertion, the Court made the aforementioned ruling.

In 2014, the appellant filed for divorce from the Family Court on grounds of cruelty and desertion. In 2017, the husband submitted a petition asking for the restoration of their conjugal rights. The divorce petition was denied by the Family Court, and the restoration of conjugal rights was permitted. This infuriated the appellant-wife, who went to the High Court.

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According to the facts, the respondent left for work overseas after just 17 days of the appellant and respondent's 2009 marriage. During their cohabitation, the appellant claimed that the respondent had harassed her both physically and mentally. In addition, it was claimed that if she disobeyed his demands, he would physically abuse her and expose her to sexual perversions. The appellant claimed her in-laws drove her out of her married home after the respondent departed for work overseas. Additionally, she claimed that until she filed for divorce and maintenance with the court, the respondent had never gotten in touch with or shown any concern for her.

Conversely, the respondent requested the restoration of marital rights while refuting all claims of physical and mental abuse as well as sexual abuse. Furthermore, it was claimed that in previous petitions filed for the maintenance or return of gold ornaments, no such claims had been made. The respondent thus contended that these accusations were made up only in order to file for divorce.

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The appellant's accusations against the respondent were duly noted by the court. "It is true that the graphic details of the sexual perversions have not been mentioned in the petition. But the Court noted that it is quite plainly pleaded that the respondent had exposed her to sexual perversions.

The Court further observed that in previous cases where requests for maintenance or the return of ornaments were filed, the appellant was not required to provide specifics of sexual perversions.

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The respondent carried out the sexual acts against the appellant's will and consent, the court determined. It held that the sexual acts would constitute physical and mental cruelty because they had caused the appellant anguish and suffering. It stated that since the appellant was forced to submit to sexual perversions against her will, a divorce could be granted even in the absence of sufficient proof to support claims of desertion.

As a result, the Court ended their marriage and granted the matrimonial appeals.

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Published January 3rd, 2024 at 16:32 IST

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