Refusal to have sex during honeymoon is not cruelty: Bombay high court

Why do we see contradictory judgments on issues of denial of sex by wife or the wife being forbidden from wearing what she likes to wear?

Refusal to have sex during honeymoon is not cruelty: Bombay high court 


But earlier in another case in Delhi,

Denying sex to spouse on first night ground for marriage annulment: Delhi high court

[“…the wife’s cruel act of denying sex to the husband especially on the very first night and then not to actively participate in it”]

I think because it is impossible to completely ignore the unfairness in situations that so clearly deny human rights to those being judged. And while, for many, it does raise “…the specter of a man going for long periods without sex even though he’s married!” [Do click and read]

And maybe while some of us may have never really given it a serious thought, we do sense something wrong with any adults being controlled by other equal adults?

Maybe we sense that women’s sexuality and women’s clothing are both used as means to control women’s lives and choices?

Maybe we do see the sense of entitlement in forbidding anybody from wearing clothes of their choice, or from from socializing or making friends of their own choice (let alone having consensual sex)? And then being grateful for opportunities to serve their lords and masters.

Maybe we sense there is more to it? Where does this sense of entitlement come from? Maybe we see slavery in the tradition of some people being kept in dependence so that they can be expected to serve, obey and adjust?

Maybe we do sense it’s wrong (even though many of us never question) how the above is made possible with use of force, violence, threats of murder, social boycott, moral policing, by denial of opportunities to form any preferences/opinions of their own.

So we actually have adults who think controlling what other people wear is not cruelty, wearing what is found comfortable is cruelty.

The spouse here felt it was cruel to deny him the right to control what the wife wore,

The court also ruled that a wife donning shirts and pants to office occasionally and going out of town for office work soon after marriage also would not amount to cruelty towards her husband.

More examples of this same sense of entitlement.

… the wife cited several instances of cruelty…. One of her grievances was that she was forced to wear sari by her in-laws.

“… the wife’s cruel act of denying sex to the husband especially on the very first night and then not to actively participate in it”

So some of us think controlling other people’s lives is not cruelty, while their not being controlled is cruelty.

Related Posts:

Who will benefit from criminalising sexual assaults within marriages?

Would this crime have been reported if he had mercilessly raped her but not sodomised her?

“In my own company in a cosmopolitan city, I know women who were horrified on the First Night.”

A comment- ‘Reverse the gender, and it is marital rape.’

Rapist groom should have waited a little to satiate his lusty desires without problems which he has got into.

His mother filed an affidavit that she works 8 am to 8 30 pm, but does ‘no additional work’ at home.”


32 thoughts on “Refusal to have sex during honeymoon is not cruelty: Bombay high court

  1. IHM, I was just reading the newspaper and was thinking whether you would post this piece of news on ur Blog.

    Wife wearing trousers and shirt to office amounts to cruelty to this man???? Seriously!!!! Sometimes I wonder if this is what the person concerned actually feels or the lawyers feed them such bits of advice.

    Why does it become sooo important to have sex on the first night (for most men) ????? Won’t the couple want to get to know each other first and let things happen gradually? The pressure of having sex on the first night/honeymoon…sigh!!!


    • @TRR,
      Your questions in the last para reminded me of something that happened five years back.
      A friend of mine called me up soon after her engagement to say her fiance was talking about having sex on the ‘first night’ and how he was TOLD by his folks that it is ‘very important’.She was all for wanting to get to know each other first (arranged marriage) but he was fed with the theory that if the couple does not have sex during the first night, their marriage will not be a happy one and they will have to face marital discord through out their wedded life. The reason he gave was that on the first night,there was suposedly maximum compatibility between wife and husband.
      Parents taught him such nonsense and he chose not to use his god given brains.


  2. This is something I’ve always wondered about. Do people in India who have arranged marriages actually have sex on the first night?

    In India women are expected be chaste and stay away from boys. So if they have never really talked to a guy, held hands, kissed or made out isnt it kind of tramautizing to have to have sex with someone you barely know on the wedding night.

    For me sex was such a gradual process. First just kisses to later on making out and fooling around we didnt actually have sex until months later.

    Isn’t it wierd to be expected to be so virginal and have no sexual desires to the suddenly be expected to have full on sex and be sexy and sexual.

    The only person I know that could answer these questions for me is my mom who actually experienced this. But that would be really awkward even though shes very open and would discuss it but i feel wierd asking.

    Has anyone experienced this or know someone who has. Im curious


    • It goes way. Men are also pressurized by wives to have sex immediately after the marriage. I have seen many marriages broken down merely because the husband could not perform on the first or second night and the wife packed up and left for her parents.


  3. Such contradictions will exist till men stop seeing women as tools.

    [“…the wife’s cruel act of denying sex to the husband especially on the very first night and then not to actively participate in it”]
    It’s funny how men expect innocent girls to act like sexual mistress or prostitutes in bed with the person they don’t know well. Some should grow up.


    • Umm why? These are hardly valid grounds if it’s not a mutual consent case.

      The injured party would still have to prove grounds or “fault”


  4. This has always been such an important issue! on the very first night typically if the girl is not comfortable or its an arranged marriage and the girl needs time why has the sex to happen on the night 1! Why can’t the first night be when they first actually have sex rather than the very first night after the wedding! An what kind of cruelty does a wife do \if she wears skirt to work ?? really ???
    Thanks to the Bombay high court!


  5. “while their not being controlled is cruelty.”

    I found that part ridiculous in the article. How does one even begin to argue that a wife wearing shirts and pants = cruelty? Lawyers and defendants (like this man) who bring up these kinds of ridiculous claims should be held in contempt of the court and fined for wasting everyone’s time–especially in a country with courts that are backed up for decades.

    At the same time, I think everyone has the right to annul their marriage (or get divorced) if they want to. This man here who wants to divorce his wife for wearing shirts and pants should absolutely be able to do so. The courts should have no right to force people to stay married if they don’t want to (regardless of how ridiculous the reason is).


    • Oh but that’s against everything that Indian culture teaches us. We Indians are programmed to think of marriage as the mechanism which bestows ownership rights to the husband.

      The Victorian concept of coverture is alive and well in India


    • I disagree that lawyers should be hauled up for presenting their client’s perspective in a suit (no matter how ridiculous they seem to another person’s limited perspective). It is not only a violation of their constitutional right (which guarantees judicial privilege) but is anti-thetical to liberal principles of freedom of speech and expression.

      Coming to the judgement under discussion, I read a few text snippets of the case and it appears that what is argued as ‘cruelty’ here is incompatibility between a rigidly conservative husband and his wife who wouldn’t/couldn’t conform to his ideas of ‘what a wife should be’. As repugnant as I think his ideas are, I still feel he has the right to a divorce in this case and the judges were being unfairly cruel by defining marital cruelty in a literal, dictionary defined sense.

      However on the upside, more judgements like this WOULD make a social statement of sorts. For one, it will do away with the wishy-washy ideas among the less enlightened that they could *pick* a spouse based on some objectively defined criteria (skin colour, height, family, etc.) AND still expect him/her to conform to their rigid preferences on what the spouse’s personality ‘should’ be like. Such judgements would also act as a wakeup call for Indian men to be as calculating and careful before entering into so called ‘marital bonds’. From what I have seen a lot of Indian men seem to have as idealistic and un-pragmatic idea of marriage as a lot of Indian women do.

      It will also help if people stop viewing sex as something transactional (something women *provide* men in exchange for marriage or say…..being nice). I find it ridiculous that the lawyer in this case argued that it is an ‘obligation’ for the wife to sleep with her husband during the four days of their honeymoon. What a tool!


  6. Situations like this always make me laugh. They really do. I see it a lot in the boys here who have girlfriends and subsequently have issues with their girlfriend. Whenever I ask why, it’s usually because she refused to submit to his control in some way or another by either talking to another boy (privately) or not doing something that he wanted her to do for him (usually cooking or something sexual of some kind). And it amazes me, the sheer level of entitlement that men seem to have about their expectations being met constantly. And what amazes me even more is that when these entitled expectations aren’t met, they usually lash out by saying, “She’s depriving me!” Depriving you by doing what exactly? Refusing to have her choices and way of life controlled by some overgrown child who throws a tantrum every time something doesn’t go the way he wants?

    It really makes you pay attention to the way we raise boys in our culture. There was one instance when my sister was talking to “a suitable boy”. Almost instantly, after reviewing the conversations, both of us had alarm bells going off because of the way he was talking. Nearly every line smacked of entitlement and how best my sister could cater to his needs. Conversely, whenever my sister brought up any mention of him possibly moving so that she could keep her job was automatically rebuffed with, “There’s no possibility.” followed by some excuse. However, he was expecting her to “fit in with [his] friends” and “gel in well with [his] family”, as well as (here’s the kicker), “take care of my parents since [he’s] the eldest son.” Needless to say, that didn’t go anywhere. But it was rather gratifying to see that it wasn’t just me and my sister who were turned off by this, but also my parents who were absolutely dumbfounded by the things he was expecting from her, without even mentioning what he could do in return (I suppose he thought that marrying my sister and taking her off my parents’ hands would be enough).

    Anyway, like I said, boys in our culture seem to be raised from birth with this idea that things will be handed to them on a silver platter, and in many ways, this belief is validated by their doting parents. Is it any wonder that, at the end of the day, we wind up with ideologies like the one this man is displaying, where he clearly believes that sex is his “right”, and controlling his wife is his “right”, and denying him such overwhelming and absolute power is “cruel”? It makes me wonder what would happen if he woke up as a woman one day, and found himself without any of that unbalanced agency that society gives him. My bets are that he wouldn’t last a day.


    • Is not only Indian culture that produce this sort of men. Why do you think that divorce rate is becaming more heigher day by day in the countries where women have enough money to survive alone? Men seems to be ok in the live-in relations. They compromise and looks that all will be fine after marriage. We marry and then they show their ugly faces. All they want is a slave, easy to control, to take care of them and to produce a child. In this time they want to have all freedom to sleep around and spend their nights in clubs. In this way is hard to have a family. Women are changing too. What can we do? We rather prefer to be alone or have different relations, then to have such lives.
      I was in a club on woman’s day. Till some hour was a party only for girls and believe me we had such nice time. The conclusion after talking with each other was very sad. We all thought that is better to use men only to produce baby girls as men are such a waste of time. Don’t know what will happen with societies if men don’t open their eyes and understand their thinking should change.
      There are two options: they change or they will try to control us, minimising our acces to jobs, or well payed jobs. Only making us financial weak they can have the life they want.
      As regarding the case related on TOI what can i say more? In India men expecting wife to be a prostitute night after marriage. They don’t get marriage is a life time relation and any relation need time to develop. Even their wife had previous sexual relations is not a reason to jump on her or to expect she to jump on them. Any new sexual relation need time. Is not just sex, is affection, love, care, trust. How all this can appear after just signing marriage certificate? If you want to have sex in the marriage night then give time to relation to grow and when you both are ready then marry. Or if you don’t want to trouble with all just marry with a prostitute. Don’t forget to pay her after each sexual favour because next time even she will refuse you the “right to discharge your frustrations” .. 😉


      • It’s an interesting point both of you have raised here; so while not directly related to the article I’d like to discuss: What are the options open to a woman to whom such treatment is meted out? It isn’t easy to survive alone financially and neither is it easy to contend with the thought of ‘dying alone’. What other incentive could be provided to such people to move out of a potentially abusive situation?

        This is of course, merely conjecture on my part; my friends have divorced such husbands and are boldly embracing their brave new life alone, while others chose not to marry. Everyone is entitled to their own decisions in life, and I’m proud of these women who made it on their own in the face of financial and emotional difficulty.


        • I know that is not easy for a woman to survive alone financially because society also don’t let her . Also is not easy to think that you will die alone. But if we think serious when you are in a relation with an invisible person anyway you will die alone. Your relation is just an illusion.
          People living in a potentially abusive relation should think if really worth it to continue because of fear to die alone or not having enough money to survive. Life is more then that. Is about to make peace with yourself and to be happy. If mind is free of any stress and sadness you can find multiple ways to survive. There are always friends in same situation that are ready to share the problems with you.
          Nobody can give us solutions, we should find them and try to make our life better. What is good for me will not work always for my friend so is better that each person to take personal decisions when time is coming.
          My thought going now to all mothers that have baby boys today. Please teach them how to help, how to care, how to be sensitive, how to be faithful, how to respect. Don’t use words for doing this. Use your personal example in family. You can be the change for future. Let’s hope for better. Till then we should find our peace and just survive, no matter what life we choose.


  7. It’s indicative of a mindset that I’ve heard espoused very often. Marriage to many people is “supporting the wife in exchange for sex”. So obviously when the wife doesn’t want to have sex, people who think like this feel cheated.

    In short a wife is to these individuals, nothing but a glorified prostitute.


    • Marriage IS a form of socio-economic transaction which isn’t too different from prostitution. Why do you think an interpersonal relationship between two biologically unrelated people should assume a legal character anyway?


  8. While I find the fact that this person has filed a case saying that his wife was being cruel to him by wearing pants and shirts to work, I do not exactly see a contradiction in judgements.

    I feel refusal to have sex during honeymoon is not cruelty. d’uh. But it could be grounds for annulment of marriage. Technically. Obviously there is an incompatibility, especially if the guy feels this is that huge an issue. Maybe he should go find someone who (doesn’t really care about taking time to get to know him and letting the chemistry develop and) will sleep with him on their honeymoon.


  9. The same Delhi High Court judgement ran through my mind when the Bombay HC article today morning. I am hoping that this could be an indication of some genuine change in our country, as the Delhi HC judgement came before Nirbhaya.


  10. After reading the news mentioned here in this post, I have one basic doubt….
    it is fine that court has denied divorce in this case. But now does the woman in this case still want to be married to the same man? when she knows what his idea of cruelty is or what are her husband’s expectations from her are??


  11. I have one Question, the girl does not want sex on her honeymoon, ( ok too soon perhaps) , the guy does, why didn’t they postpone the honeymoon till they both wanted the same thing?
    dont they talk? i understand arranged marriages and not wanting to have sex with a stranger etc., but seriously dont they even talk to each other?? whats the point in being married if you cant communicate with the one person who is t be your friend, partner and lifelong companion…


    • Oh, you have lofty expectations, MR 🙂 Talking, understanding? Who has time for all that, when making a male baby is the first priority?


  12. I actually spent time going through the responses to the article on the Bombay High Courts decision. Here are some responses that left me speechless – “why woman refused sex also should take into account Women who are in love with other man before marriage usually refuse sex per reliable surveys” (Reliable surveys??? Really???) ; “There must be some valid reason for this woman refusing to have sex with her husband. She may be in love with another person” (Like that is the only valid reason) ; “We all want to make our own family and have our own children. We cannot have children without sex with a woman. As per law, We cannot have sex without marriage. So it proves.. why we need honeymoon.. the case is dismissed. . :)” (Sigh – don’t know where to begin) ; ” In the first place I do not have iota of hesitation to concede the possible fact that no married woman would blatantly refuse to sleep with her married man with no reason at all. She should certainly be having some kind of physical or mental problems for having done so driving her man to go to the family court and seek justice in his favour.” (So wanting to go slow is now sign of a physical / mental problem)… I could go on, but this has tired me out already.

    Also, according to the verdict, wearing shirts and pants occasionally does not amount to cruelty. But what if the lady prefers western outfits, and wants to wear them regularly? Does it then become cruelty? Just wondering


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