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 5.
AdvertisementWhile 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.