Familiarizing the unfamiliar in marriage: The case of sodomy as a ground for divorce

Mandal, Saptarshi (2021) Familiarizing the unfamiliar in marriage: The case of sodomy as a ground for divorce. In: Sexuality, abjection and queer existence in contemporary India. Routledge, London, pp. 151-164. ISBN 9781003193531

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Looking for the ‘unfamiliar’ in the ‘familiar’ terrain of marriage in India leads us to the startling discovery, that far from its identification with male homosexuality, the term ‘sodomy’ has actually been part of the legal regulation of heterosexual marriage since the nineteenth century. Drawing on the pioneering English divorce legislation, the Matrimonial Causes Act, 1857 (MCA), the colonial state enacted the Indian Divorce Act (IDA) in 1869 to regulate divorce among the Christian population in India, the Section 10 of which allowed a wife to seek divorce on the ground of ‘sodomy’ committed by her husband. This clause was incorporated in the revised Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936 (PMDA) by the colonial state,1 and in the Special Marriage Act, 19542 (SMA) and the Hindu Marriage Act, 19553 (HMA) by the independent Indian state. The IDA remained in operation post-independence, and even when Section 10 underwent substantial reform in 2001 along with the rest of the Act, the sodomy clause was retained. Thus, currently, four out of the five divorce statutes in India contain the sodomy clause.4

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: Sodomy | Divorce law | Marital sodomy
Subjects: Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Gender Studies
Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Law and Legal Studies
JGU School/Centre: Jindal Global Law School
Depositing User: Mr. Syed Anas
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2022 14:21
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2022 14:21
Official URL: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.432...
URI: https://pure.jgu.edu.in/id/eprint/814


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