New Delhi: Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi on Tuesday said the government is planning to criminalise marital rape, a month after her statement in Parliament that the concept cannot be “suitably applied in the Indian context” created an uproar.
Ms Gandhi said there is an attempt by the government to move forward on the issue. Replying to a question on whether there is an attempt to push for criminalisation of marital rape, Ms Gandhi said, “Now there is”.
She was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event to launch ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign in 61 additional districts.
Ms Gandhi expressed hope that there will be a decision soon on the issue. Earlier, the Home Ministry had sought the Law Commission’s opinion on the matter during the course of its comprehensive review of the criminal justice system.
The minister had come under fire last month over her reply in Parliament to a question on whether the government had plans to criminalise marital rape.
Ms Gandhi had said, “It is considered that the concept of marital rape, as understood internationally, cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context due to various factors e.g. level of education/illiteracy, poverty, myriad social customs and values, religious beliefs, mindset of the society to treat marriage as a sacrament, etc.”
Ms Gandhi had later said the ministry could consider taking steps to criminalise marital rape provided there is ample proof of enough number of such complaints.