The Supreme Court has refused to hear a plea seeking directions from the SC to the centre to frame laws that declare marital rape as a ground for divorce. The notion of rape and sexual assault remains a taboo in India even in the 21st century, let alone marital rape. The definition of rape under the Indian Penal Code under section 375 , though stands amended, yet is rather limited in its scope and is not inclusive of marital rape. Marital rape is also not a ground for divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 and Special Marriage Act, 1954.
The petition also seeks for direction to the centre to frame rules regarding filing of FIR, in cases of marital rape. Anuja Kapur, the advocate who had filed the petition, mentioned that there is a lot of confusion among the authorities that under which law should such a FIR be registered. The petition seeks for framing of guidelines so that the accountability, responsibility and liability of the concerned authorities can be fixed. It also mentioned that penalties and punishments should be awarded to safeguard women’s constitutional rights and the dignity of women who is the institution of marriage.
Anuja kapur also argued that “Marital rape is no less an offence 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,".
However, the Supreme Court, consisting of a bench of two Justices SA Bobde and BR Gavai, refused to entertain the plea on the 1st of July, 2019 and asked the petitioner Adv. Anuja Kapur to approach the high court for relief.