VOLUME 1                                                       MAY 2021                                                 ISSUE 2

The Syin & Sern Law Review

SHORT POST

RESTITUTION OF CONJUGAL RIGHTS AS A MATRIMONIAL RELIEF: A LEGAL RETALIATORY WEAPON

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Damini Sinha^ 

DOI

https://doi-ds.org/doilink/06.2021-29125872/SYIN & SERN/V1/I2/A6

Abstract

Marriage is historically perceived as an eternal, indissoluble, and holy union sanctified by performing certain religious ceremonies. The various legislations governing the matrimonial disputes in India craft specific reliefs that each spouse may claim. While examining the popularly contested provisions relating to the restitution of conjugal rights across statutes, the research objective of this paper calls for an in-depth exploration into the challenges and legal consequences of the indicated relief. Analysing the interpretations laid down by the Courts in a series of cases, this study draws a link to the inconsistency of such a legal relief with the subsequent alternations to perspectives of social norms and values. In light of contemporary developments, the paper examines the dynamics of the legal provisions of granting a decree for restitution of conjugal rights, which has transformed itself into a retaliatory weapon often employed in Indian society.

Referred Citations: 

  1. Ijab-e-Qubool refers to the proposal to marriage made by one party and the consent given by the other.  Such a ritual constitutes one of the essential elements validating marriages under Mohammedan law.  

  2. The United Nations declared this time period as the “Decade of Women” while recognizing the need for access to justice and equity in law for women.

  3.  Law Commission of India, 59th Report on Hindu Marriage Act,1955 and Special Marriage Act,1954 (March 1947).

  4. Sharma, Kanika. “Withholding Consent to Conjugal Relations within Child Marriages in Colonial India: Rukhmabai's Fight”, vol. 38, no. 1 Law and History Review, pp. 151–175 (2020).

  5. Kanika Sharma, Restitution of Conjugal Rights: A Pernicious Legal Transplant, Law & History Review  (May 1, 2021, 3:54PM), https://lawandhistoryreview.org/article/kanika-sharma-restitution-of-conjugal-rights-a-pernicious-legal-transplant/.

  6. The Law Commission, Proposal for the abolition of the matrimonial remedy of Restitution of Conjugal Rights (London, Her Majesty's Stationary Office 1969).

  7. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, §9, No. 25, Acts of Parliament, 1955 (India).

  8. Smt. Kailash Wati v. Ayodhia Parkash, 1971 CLJ 109 (P & H).

  9. Kanika Sharma, Restitution of Conjugal Rights: A Pernicious Legal Transplant, Law & History Review (May 1, 2021, 3:54PM), https://lawandhistoryreview.org/article/kanika-sharma-restitution-of-conjugal-rights-a-pernicious-legal-transplant/.

  10. Dadaji Bhikaji v. Rukhmabai, ILR 9 Bom 529 1885.

  11. Kanika Sharma, Withholding Consent to Conjugal Relations within Child Marriages in Colonial India: Rukhmabai's Fight, vol. 38, no. 1 Law and History Review, pp. 151–175 (2020).

  12. Sudhir Chandra, Rukhmabai: Debate over Woman's Right to Her Person, vol. 31, no. 44 Economic and Political Weekly, pp. 2937–2947 (1996).

  13. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, § 23, No. 25, Acts of Parliament, 1955(India).

  14. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, § 13, No. 25, Acts of Parliament, 1955(India).

  15. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, § 29, No. 25, Acts of Parliament, 1955(India).

  16. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, §9, No. 25, Acts of Parliament, 1955(India).

  17. Rameshchandra v. Smt. Premlata Bai, AIR 1979 MP 15.

  18. For instance, husband’s blindness is considered as a reasonable excuse - Mohinder Singh v. Smt. Preet Kaur, AIR 1981 J K 25.

  19. T. Sareetha v. Venkatasubbaiah, AIR 1983 AP 356.

  20. Gautam Bhatia, The Transformative Constitution: A Radical Biography in Nine Acts pp. 217-219 (HarperCollins India 2019).

  21. Harvinder Kaur v. Harmander Singh Choudhry, AIR 1984 Del 66.

  22. Id.

  23. INDIA CONST. art. 14.

  24. INDIA CONST. art. 21.

  25. “Cohabitation consists of the husband acting as a husband towards the wife and the wife acting as a wife towards the husband, the wife rendering house-wifely duties to the husband and the husband cherishing and supporting his wife as a husband should.” Evans v. Evans, (1948) I K.B. 175 (7).

  26. “Consortium means "companionship, love, affection, comfort, mutual services, sexual intercourse. All these belong to the married state. Taken together they make up consortium.” Harvinder Kaur v. Harmander Singh Choudhry, AIR 1984 Delhi 66.

  27. The Indian Divorce Act, 1869, §32, No. 4, Acts of Parliament, 1869 (India).

  28. Paluck Sharma, Restitution of Conjugal Rights: A Comparative Study Among Indian Personal Laws, Indian National Bar Association (May 1, 2021, 3:04pm), https://www.indianbarassociation.org/restitution-of-conjugal-right-a-comparative-study-among-indian-personal-laws/.

  29. The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936, §36, No.3, Acts of Parliament,1936 (India).

  30. Harvinder Kaur v. Harmander Singh Choudhry, AIR 1984 Delhi 66.

  31. Saroj Rani v. Sudarshan Kumar, 1985 SCR (1) 303.

  32. The Hindu Marriage Act,1955, §13(1A), No. 25, Acts of Parliament,1955 (India).

  33.  Law Commission of India, Consultation Paper on Reform of Family Law (August, 2018).

  34.  Id.

  35.  Government of India, The Report by High Level Committee on Status of Women (Ministry of Women and Child Development, 2015).

  36. Shanti Nigam v. Ramesh Chandra, AIR 1971 All 567

  37. Ojaswa Pathak v. Union of India, W.P.(C) No. 250/2019 PIL-W.

  38. Kanika Sharma, Restitution of Conjugal Rights: A Pernicious Legal Transplant, Law & History Review  (May 1, 2021, 3:54PM), https://lawandhistoryreview.org/article/kanika-sharma-restitution-of-conjugal-rights-a-pernicious-legal-transplant/.