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Sharma, Kanika (2020) 'Restitution of conjugal rights and the dissenting female body: The Rukhmabai Case.' In: Bonnerjee, Samraghni, (ed.), Subaltern Women’s Narratives: Strident Voices, Dissenting Bodies. London: Routledge. (Routledge advances in feminist studies and intersectionality)

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Trial transcripts remain an under utilised source through which colonial women’s lived experiences as well as their narratives of resistance can be recovered. This paper aims to explore Indian Hindu women’s resistance to attempts to control their bodies through the legal notions of age of consent, as well as restitution of conjugal rights, as they came to be debated in the case of Dadaji Bhikaji vs Rukhmabai (1885). The colonial state in India collaborated with the patriarchal elements of the Hindu religion to deny Hindu women any right to withhold consent to marriage, or to withhold consent to sexual intercourse with their husbands after the age of ten. In colonial law, Hindu marriage came to be recognised as a sacrament and not a contract, thus precluding any need for the consent of the bride or the groom to deem a marriage valid.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: Family law; Hindu personal law; restitution of conjugal rights; 19th C; India
SOAS Departments & Centres: School Research Centres > Centre for Asian Legal Studies
Departments and Subunits > School of Law
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women
K Law > KL Asia and Eurasia, Africa, Pacific Area, and Antarctica
ISBN: 9780367638993
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2020 09:07

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