Most married couples go through periods of enforced celibacy due to lack of enthusiasm on behalf of one of the partners. However, the High Court in Delhi has ruled that for one couple, the lack of sex in their marriage is actually solid grounds for divorce.
The Hindu reports that a wife failed to have sex with her husband for four and a half years although, it was noted, there was no valid reason for her doing so, given that she did not have a physical disability.
The husband had originally brought proceedings against his wife in March, citing “mental cruelty” as a result of the sex ban. At that stage, the trial court deemed that his description of cruelty did not match the terms laid out in the Hindu Marriage Act 1955. Formal terms of this Act state that cruel treatment must be “grave and weighty”, resulting in the ability for one spouse to live with the other but may not involve physical violence.
This latest hearing however, resulted in success for the dissatisfied husband. Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Pratibha Rani empathised with his dilemma, stating that: “In view of the foregoing discussion, we are of the considered view that the husband has fully established that he was subjected to mental cruelty by the wife by denying sex to him for a long period despite living under the same roof, without any justification and though she was not suffering from any physical disability”.
No detail was given as to why the wife had not honoured her marital obligations, nor is it clear whether or not she was asked to give her side of the story. It is stated however, that she did not specifically deny the allegation.
Unfortunately, this decision could well spell disaster for the woman, who will not be automatically entitled to half of the marital assets. Indeed, according to Muslim law, she may legally only be granted a nominal maintenance payment.