Conjugal Rights

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 26, 2022, 10:17

The rights that are created by marriage are called Conjugal Rights. They are the rights of the husband or the wife to the society of the other spouse. Conjugal Rights also refer to all the matrimonial rights that married couples must perform. The law recognises all personal laws dealing with marriage and divorce and criminal law dealing with payment of alimony and maintenance of the spouse.

What Conjugal Rights Specifies?

  1. As per Conjugal Rights, married couples should live together.
  2. According to Conjugal Rights, the spouses have rights and duties together for one another and have physical relationships.
  3. Married couples in Conjugal Rights should provide mental and emotional comfort to each other.
  4. Married couples are supposed to share household responsibilities.
  5. The husband or wife is empowered to move the local district court by the Restitution of Conjugal Rights as given in Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act and Section 22 of the Special Marriage Act. Such restitutions allow the husband or wife to complain in the local district court that the other partner has withdrawn from the marriage without a reasonable cause.
  6. According to the petition, the local district court can then order the "withdrawn" partner to return to the marital home.
  7. Under Order 21 of Rule 32 of the Civil procedure Code, the court can attach the properties of the "errant" in case of non-compliance with the order to return.
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Restitution of Conjugal Rights

When a spouse's Conjugal Rights are challenged by the refusal of the other partner to live together or withdraw from the society of their respective halves, they can then file a suit for restitution of Conjugal Rights. The court has provided some legal provisions to let gender equality prevail, and spouses have their rights irrespective of sex. Certain conditions need to be met to file suit for restitution of Conjugal Rights.

  1. The defendant has refused to live together or is withdrawing from the other spouse's society or petitioner. But it is important to note that even if the spouses are staying away. Still, they are in contact with each other, or the staying away is due to some valid reasons like work, and then such cases cannot be considered a refusal of society, and a suite of restitution of Conjugal Rights cannot be filed.
  2. The petitioner's statement is true, no false statement is made, and the ground of refusal from the society of the "errant" is unreasonable.
  3. If the relief or application is denied, then the legal ground for the same need not be mentioned.

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Challenges Faced By Conjugal Rights

The primary ground on which the law has been challenged is that it violates the fundamental right to privacy. The 2017 judgment has posed potential challenges to several laws, one of which is the restitution of Conjugal Rights.

The judgment argues that court-mandated conjugal right restitution leads to a "coercive action" on the part of the state, violating one's decisional and sexual autonomy and the right to privacy and dignity.

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FAQs on Conjugal Rights

Q.1 What do Conjugal Rights mean?

Ans. The rights that are created by marriage are called Conjugal Rights. They are the right of the husband or the wife to the society of the other spouse.

Q.2. Where are the Conjugal Rights mentioned?

The Conjugal Rights are mentioned in Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, Section 32 of the Indian Divorce Act, Section 36 of the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, and Section 22 of the Special Marriage Act.

Q.3. What is meant by "withdrawal from society" in Conjugal Rights?

Ans. "Withdrawal from society" in Conjugal Rights means:-

  1. Withdrawal from sexual activities
  2. Non-co-operation of marital obligations
  3. The intention to abandon for an indefinite time
  4. Cessation of cohabitation by the respondent's willing acts.

Q.4. What is the latest stand of the Supreme Court about Conjugal Rights?

Ans. In the recent Joseph Shine Judgement, the Supreme Court has concluded that the state cannot exercise its power in the personal matter of people. It causes a violation of freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution of India.

Q.5. Who can apply for Restitution of Conjugal Rights?

Under section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, any of the spouses can file for restitution of Conjugal Rights.