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Sharma, Kanika, Lammasniemi, Laura and Sarkar, Tanika (2021) 'Dadaji Bhikaji v Rukhmabai: Rewriting Consent and Conjugal Relations in Colonial India.' Indian Law Review, 5 (3). pp. 265-287.

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Through an examination of the late nineteenth century case of Dadaji Bhikaji v Rukhmabai this article traces the history of the doctrine of restitution of conjugal rights (“RCR”) in Hindu law in colonial India. It highlights the importance of caste in situating the life and trials of Rukhmabai in their wider social, colonial, and legal contexts. Following the methodology of the global feminist judgements projects, the paper also offers a re-written judgement for Rukhmabai’s case located in 1886. This new judgement, while bound by the legal rules of the time, puts forward an alternative application of the doctrine of RCR, one that treats the issue of consent as central to such suits. It argues that the legal transplant of RCR ought not to have been applied to Hindu marriages which are often entered into in childhood and makes a case for taking into account female consent to both marriage and to conjugal relations.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Feminist judgments; restitution of conjugal rights; colonial law; colonial India
SOAS Departments & Centres: Regional Centres and Institutes > SOAS South Asia Institute
School Research Centres > Centre for Asian Legal Studies
Departments and Subunits > School of Law
ISSN: 24730599
Copyright Statement: © 2021 The Author(s). This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2021 12:22

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