New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked petitioner-cum-lawyer Anuja Kapur to approach the Delhi High Court for redressal of her plea seeking a direction to the Centre that it should frame the necessary guidelines along with appropriate laws related to marital rape as a ground of divorce.

A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the government to frame guidelines for registration of FIRs in marital rape cases and frame appropriate laws and bye-laws to make it ground for divorce.

In her petition, Kapur contended that guidelines for registration of case related to marital rape were needed to safeguard married women’s fundamental right to live with human dignity.

Section 375 of the IPC defines sexual intercourse without consent and against the will of a woman as rape. But an exception to it says sexual intercourse by a man with his wife, who is 15 or above, is not rape even if it is without her consent and against her will.

Kapur’s petition has come four years after the Supreme Court refused to entertain a Delhi-based woman MNC executive’s plea to declare marital rape a criminal offence, saying it wasn’t possible to order a change in the law for one person. She had complained that her husband repeatedly resorted to sexual violence but she was helpless.

Citing a survey, the petitioner said that 5 per cent of married women between 15-49 years of age in India reported that their husbands had physically forced them to have sexual intercourse even when they didn’t want it.

As marital rape is not a ground for a divorce in Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, and Special Marriage Act, 1954, it cannot be used as a ground for divorce and cruelty against the husband, the petitioner pointed out.