In a sensational order, the Madras High Court has suggested
making pre-marital clinical tests mandatory for grooms.
Observing that 'impotency' or 'frigidity' was a serious
social issue which broke the institution of marriage and resulted in violation
of human rights, especially women, the high court sought the views of the
Central and State governments and asked them to file their replies by September
While considering a plea filed by a person in Theni (south
India) who sought the quashing of a petition under domestic violence Act filed
by his wife, Justice Kirubakaran said impotency was the cause for the violence
against the woman.
The marriage between the petitioner and his wife, an IT
(M.Sc) graduate, had allegedly failed due to impotency. Now the wife has filed for divorce.
"In these type of cases, marriages are conducted
suppressing the weakness or disability of one of the partners and mostly
marriages are conducted to avoid social stigma or at the compulsion of the
elders. The issue requires urgent attention by discussion as well as preventive
measures have to be taken," the judge said.
"Why can't the Governments amend the Marriage Act to
fast track matrimonial cases filed on the ground of impotency and frigidity and
complete them within six months or one year? The governments could also think
of including provision for awarding compensation/punishment for suppression of
impotency," he added.
The judge further said that the divorces on the grounds of
impotency and frigidity are avoidable and asked the governments to think about
how to resolve the issue.
Justice Kirubakaran noted that the number of marriages which
had failed due to impotency had increased from 88 in 2009 to 715 in 2013 as per
the records of the Chennai family court.
The suggestion evokes mixed response
Journalist Anna MM Vetticad responded positively to the
suggestion made by the Court. Twenty to thirty percent of divorces happen
because of sexual dysfunction of one of the two partners. The tests would save
the man from facing the humiliation of letting the whole world know that he is
impotent. So the pre-marital tests as suggested by the court would save the men
from possible humiliation. But none of the parties should be legally bound to
reveal the result of the other party in public, Vetticad said.
Meanwhile, Supreme Court lawyer Kamini Jaiswal has come up
with opposing the suggestion. He said, "This is gross invasion on the
privacy of the person. Marriage is an act of good faith which one party reposes
on the other. Marriage should be based on truth which both the parties should
share before marriage in good faith."
Giving an interesting medical perspective to the whole
potency test topic, Sexologist R Bhonsle said that 90 percent cases of
so-called impotency are psychogenic or psychologial.
"In many cases a good sexual relationship may not be
established because of situational or relational issues. There is no test to
confirm till date that a man is impotent for a biological reason."
"There is also no exact test to decide whether a person will
get erection or not. Similarly, there is no method to examine a woman and
suggest frigidity because of biological reasons. A semen examination can only
tell about fertility and not potency," Bhonsle said.