Sodomy, unnatural sex forced upon spouse is ground for Divorce: Punjab & Haryana HC

CHANDIGARH, JUN 12: The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently ruled that forcible sexual intercourse, sodomy, and other unnatural means forced upon a spouse are grounds to seek divorce or separation.
The judgment was passed by Justices MMS Bedi and Hari Pal Verma in an appeal filed by a Bathinda-based woman seeking a decree of separation from her husband on the grounds of cruelty – both physical and mental – and demands of dowry from the husband and his family.
Back in 2014, the Additional District Judge of Bathinda had rejected the plea for divorce filed by the wife. Now, almost four years later, the High Court has allowed her appeal, acknowledging her reasons for seeking divorce/separation.
The appellant claimed that she was subjected to cruelty post marriage. Further, before marriage, she was also misled into believing that her husband was a well settled engineer, which was later found to be untrue.
The claims made by the appellant include dowry demands made by her husband, humiliation, and physical violence subjected on her.
She also claimed that her husband forced her into sex against her wishes. The appellant claimed that her husband subjected her to various illegal sexual acts, including sodomy, against her wishes.
The respondent rejected the claims made by appellant vis-à-vis dowry, stating that he came from a reputed family and would not make demands for dowry. Allegations of physical violence and unnatural sex were also denied.
While the lower court rejected the plea for divorce stating that a marriage is a sacrament not a contract, it also placed the onus of establishing the allegations of unnatural sex on the appellant.
The High Court, however, acknowledged the seriousness of the allegations made by the appellant and said,
“The nature of the allegations levelled by the appellant are very serious but the said allegations cannot be proved by any corroborative evidence as the acts of sodomy or unnatural sex or oral sex forcibly committed during difficult periods can neither be witnessed by any other person nor such allegations can always be proved by medical evidence.”
The Court further acknowledged that the appellant, despite having a minor child from the wedlock, left her matrimonial home and this could only be due to unbearable circumstances.
“The act of sodomy, forcible sexual intercourse and adoption of unnatural means which are forced upon the other spouse and result for unbearable pain to the extent that one is forced to stay away would certainly be a ground to seek separation or decree of divorce.
No doubt such allegations are very easy to level and difficult to prove. A Court has always to be cautious before accepting such allegations but at the same time if on appreciation of evidence and nature of the allegations corroborated by other circumstances, it is established that it is probable that one of the spouses has indulged in above said unnatural acts, the marriage can be dissolved by a decree of divorce.”
Finding that cruelty against the appellant had been established in the present case, the High Court set aside the trial court judgement and granted a decree of divorce to the appellant.