Observing the difference between married and unmarried relationships, the Delhi High Court said on Monday that marriage gives a legal right to expect reasonable sexual relations from the partner.
Hearing a batch of pleas on marital rape, Justice C. Hari Shankar noted that there is a qualitative difference and expectation of conjugal relationship for both parties.
“We are not recognising the difference if we are saying that they are at par. When a party gets married, each has an expectation, and to an extent a right also, to expect normal sexual relationship from each other, which does not exist if there is no marriage,” observed the bench also comprising Justice Rajiv Shakdher.
However, Justice Shankar also said that there is no denying the fact that marital rapes should be punished.
“There is no compromise with a woman’s right to sexual and bodily integrity. A husband has no business to compel,” he said.
He also said that there is no concept of marital rape in India. “If it is rape — marital, non-marital or of any kind — it has to be punished. Repeated use of the word, according to me, obfuscates the actual issue,” he added.
Further arguments will continue on Tuesday.
Recently, the Gujarat High Court had issued notices to the state and the Centre in response to a PIL challenging the constitutional validity of marital rape.
The PIL challenged Section 375(2) of IPC which exonerates a husband from the punishment of rape for forcible physical relations with his legally wedded wife without her consent.